Season 2 Finale
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
Nothing more than the unknown beneath them, Suzie and Lincoln stare at each other from opposite ends of the mezzanine, only the heavens above allowed to light their impending duel. “I’m sorry, sister” Lincoln remarks in a raspy voice, his horrifyingly-punctured right hand mustering just enough strength to match Suzie’s gesture, pulling back to summon his oceanic blue service dagger from the thinnest of air.
As the ground shakes, Suzie and Lincoln pull further away, their respective sides of the mezzanine reached before their weapons take aim. “Razul, Kazro- stay down” Suzie commands, a smirk worn across her face as she watches Lincoln wince, his left hand entirely immobilised, the advantage already in her favour.
“Stay quiet” Jared whispers, his arm reaching around Rachel’s back, holding her close as they remain veiled, protected only by the desk they seek refuge behind. Her own arms reaching around Jared’s waist, Rachel tucks her head into his chest, comforted by his warmth and consoled by his protection.
Quick tempered and eager to put this long, drawn-out nightmare behind herself, Suzie surges forward, the service dagger held beside her head as warfare is initiated. With as much to lose as he does to gain, Lincoln follows the woman’s lead, crossing his right forearm to the left side of his body, the dagger held just over his left shoulder whilst his neck is shielded.
Silent, the pair prepare for a collision in the chasm’s centre, prepared to deal the other a fatal strike as their hands pull back. The distance closed, Suzie and Lincoln propel their arms forward, weapons plunging through the air just one moment too late. Their momentum extinguished, the siblings’ straight-shots are sent out of control, a pair of bodies colliding with them from above before a single blade has the chance to pierce flesh.
Falling from the air like a plane with an inoperational wing, Suzie crashes into the mezzanine’s floor, Lincoln quick to suffer a similar fate. “Aw, what the fuck!?” Suzie exclaims, her teeth pressing together as she crawls away from the platform’s ledge, a glance across the floor from herself revealing Lincoln’s mostly-unharmed frame climb to his feet all the same.
“What the hell did you do!?” Lincoln exclaims, barking at his sister under the assumption that the interference was of her doing, his initial belief quickly thwarted. Their unsteady feet tapping against the floor as they, too, ascend from the floor, Scarlett and Vic capture the invading sibling’s attention with ease, drawing their collective ire.
Patting herself down, Scarlett’s hand presses into her body, able to feel the sensation of touch with each slap. “Were you in another paradox!?” Vic worriedly qualms, her hands shaking as she glances across the foyer, the blonde’s eyes as widened as her own are. “The two of you are really starting to get on my nerves” Suzie groans, neither Scarlett nor Vic looking toward each other any longer, their shared sights laying upon the participants of kinfolk conflict.
“Where the fuck did you even come from!?” Lincoln exclaims, his mangled left hand held against his chest as he winces in pain, “this isn’t your fight!”
“Apparently, it is” Vic replies, a softer tone taken than that of the kinspersons before her, “the thing you were talking about- the delusions- that’s how I got here.”
“Me too” Scarlett replies, a passing look shared with Vic as her eyes drift back toward Suzie and Lincoln her tone softer than before as well, “that woman with the mouth sent me here.” Eyes narrowing, Suzie looks to the girls with ire, her nostrils flaring as she steps forward, service dagger returned to the realm.
“I don’t care if the King of England sent you down here- this isn’t your fight!” Suzie shouts, sharing her brother’s sentiment. “Maybe it is! Maybe we were sent down here for a reason!” Vic interjects, she and Scarlett beginning to close the relatively small gap between themselves and the siblings, “hell, our timing was fucking incredible! Maybe we were sent down here to stop the two of you from killing each other.”
With a scowl on her face, Suzie stares into the girls’ eyes as the room goes silent, only remaining that way for a moment before the sound of laughter refills it. Chuckling to himself, Lincoln shakes his head, mentally erasing the excruciating pain his wounds have inflicted. “The two of you just don’t-fucking-get it, do you?” Lincoln shouts, nearly hunched over in laughter as the mezzanine begins to fill with a thunderous roar.
“No, I guess we don’t” Scarlett replies, the humoured smirk slowly falling from Lincoln’s face, “please, enlighten us.” Grousing at the girls, Lincoln puckers his lips and takes a few steps forward, his left hand beginning to wrap itself in the tattered, blood-stained shirt he wears. “Fine” the man murmurs, his steps forward stopping suddenly, the grouse turning into a scowl, his voice lowering as his still-wounded right hand trembles.
“The realm is one massive, fucked up chess board. Everything you see, this building, the offices, these ‘delusions’- it’s all part of the game” Lincoln replies, his head falling to one side and tilting back, “when was the last time you saw both people win a game of chess?”
Stepping back, Suzie exits the conversation for a moment, refusing to participate in the discourse for her own good. “When-” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, yet to uncover an answer as she looks toward Lincoln, confused, “-when they tie?” Another chuckle forcing its way through Lincoln, the man shakes his head with a smirk, his injuries having sentenced him to such great amounts of pain that he almost appears intoxicated by its presence.
“Mmm. This realm doesn’t like draws” Lincoln responds, his chin now lowering, his head slightly bowed as his eyes keep toward the girls. “We have a game of chess within a game of chess right now- so how much longer do you think it’ll be before the realm just decides to flip the board over?” Lincoln inquires, his finger lifting toward the heavens above the bonsai tree just as another bout of thunder roars, the smirk returned to his face, “it’s already starting to get impatient.”
Their lips pressed together, Vic and Scarlett watch Lincoln draw closer, prepared to defend themselves at the first sight of conflict. “There’s a lot that the two of you don’t understand. Just because Suzie doesn’t have the gall to say it doesn’t mean that I don’t” Lincoln declares, a third, much louder wave of thunder rolling forward, the mezzanine briefly illuminated by the flash of lightning.
“I was put in your paths long before you came here- just like I was for everyone that came before you” Lincoln confesses, another loud, thunderous clash ringing through the mezzanine. “The realm chose me to rule. And when Suzie decided to slash my throat, it gave me an opportunity at redemption” Lincoln explains, drawing another step closer to the girls, “The realm handed us different sentences. Suzie rebelled for freedom from her purgatory, and I earned freedom from mine.”
“Not true” Suzie remarks from afar, interrupting the discussion as another bolt of lightning flashes through the mezzanine. “I fought for my freedom. I staged an uprising in purgatory and I beat the realm- I bested it” the woman corrects, a few steps taken back into the conversation. “I’ve proven that I’m good enough to take that goddamn throne” Suzie grunts, her stare toward Lincoln now redirecting itself toward the girls, “now I just need to clear my path to it.”
“Yeah, that’s your theory” Lincoln responds, looking to his sister from over his shoulder, his back turned toward Scarlett and Vic, “and somehow- after all these decades- you’re still wrong.” Her head shaking subtly, Suzie crosses her arms, “you don’t know that” she responds, her retort quickly corrected by the man across the platform from her.
“It’s not that I don’t know that, it’s that you can’t see that!” Lincoln replies, his full attention returned to the woman, his right hand swaying freely by his side, “you’re still corrupted. You arrived corrupted, and you remain corrupted.” Eyes narrowing, Scarlett shares in Vic’s confusion whilst holding her own intrigue, unable to prevent herself from reclaiming the narrative’s focus.
“What do you mean corrupted?” Scarlett inquires, the thunder returning as Lincoln glances back toward her with a smile, the thunder roaring again, this time with a much softer rumble. The corner of his mouth arching, Lincoln approaches the girls for a second time, his eyes set squarely upon the young blonde. “Oh, you know?- Corrupted” Lincoln teases, his head swinging from one side to another as he grows closer.
“Someone that’s quick tempered. Maybe, someone that’s irrational, or impulsive- that kind of thing” Lincoln replies, the grumbling roar of the realm’s heavens starting to intensify, “someone the realm brought in to balance the scale, then throw it of course, and set the final stage in motion.”
Their faces scrunching, Scarlett and Vic look at the man with greater bewilderment, uncertain of meaning behind the man’s vagueness. “He’s saying the two of you were chosen for the same reason as us” Suzie interposes, summoning the fiery red service dagger, “one’s a hothead and the other’s composed. You’re close to each other just like Lincoln and I were. The realm tests you, then it judges you, then-”
Stopping mid sentence, Suzie waits for the fiercest roar of thunder to subside before attempting to continue, her thought finished by the bulky man a few paces ahead of her. “Then it forces you to earn your keep” Lincoln concludes, the sights he’d laid upon Scarlett now moving to Vic, her eyes capturing his focus, “forces your hand- even if you don’t want to- and has you prove yourself to it.”
A small gap brought between her lips, Vic peers toward Suzie before returning her eyes to Lincoln. “What are you saying?” Vic inquires, an obvious sense of fear contained within her question. “He’s saying one of you is already corrupted, and the other isn’t” Suzie replies from afar, her thought again finished by Lincoln, who lowers his voice to match Vic’s whispering tone.
“If the three of us die, Suzie gets to put her theory to the test” Lincoln murmurs, obviously not taking the possibility with seriousness, “If the three of you die, I’ll finally get to take the throne that should have always been mine.” His voice lowering further, Lincoln instals a bend in his knees, lowering his height to the girls’ level.
“And- if Suzie and I die- the two of you will be left to finish the game” Lincoln whispers, his smirk reappearing as the mezzanine begins to flash rapidly, struck with various bolts of lightning. “And when the dust settles, and the last pieces are in order, the game will draw to a close” Lincoln concludes, an overwhelming glee taken in his declaration, “one of you will live to be king, and the other will die.”
Snarling at the man, Vic summons her service weapon, its radiant blue flash prompting Lincoln to back away, reestablishing a safe distance between himself and the realm’s devoted keepers. “Let’s stop wasting so much time then” Vic replies, stepping away from Scarlett’s side, refusing to allow Lincoln to refuse the conflict he’d entered the mezzanine searching for.
“Oh no. Not here” Lincoln replies, his whisper having become a growl, “this fight isn’t gonna happen in the realm!” Though interested in watching the clash unfold, Suzie voices her agreement with Lincoln’s refusal. “We may be able to die in here, but the two of you can’t” Suzie replies, scrunching her nose as she shrugs, “at least- not yet.”
“Why not kill us before then?” Scarlett wonders aloud, hands kept at her side, refusing to escalate the struggle already beginning to amplify. “I need the two of you to outlive this scumbag, you already know my reason” Suzie answers, the collective faces turning to the large, muscular figure desperate to maintain his distance.
“I- I have- I have my reasons” Lincoln stutters, his eyebrows lowering as he continues to back away, his sister’s voice capturing his ear after a few, defensive moments. “Oh my god- it’s ‘cause you can’t!” Suzie exclaims, her eyes widened as if she’d made a life-changing discovery, “the realm’s started it’s game with the girls- so if you killed them, you’d be defying its interests! You’d be corrupting yourself!”
“Hold on, what’s happening?” Vic interrupts, her question disregarded as Suzie’s declaration continues, each step she takes closer matched by Lincoln, who takes one step backward. “You were gonna use those kids to bait the girls back home, weren’t you? You were gonna send them on a collision course with me!” Suzie continues, continuing to advance upon her brother, “but when I found you, the plan switched. So you hid them here to buy yourself time to think of a new plan!”
“Stop talking!” Lincoln shouts, resummoning his service dagger and extending it toward Suzie, her face sharply lit by the wave of blue light. Trembling, Lincoln’s pain vanishes for a brief moment, his face shaking rapidly as he continues to retreat. “I’m doing what I have-!” Lincoln declares, his paranoid rambling ceased at the sensation of a sharp, plastic shank ripping through the flesh on his back.
“Aaahhh!” Lincoln barks, falling to his knees as the service dagger is relinquished, the pain brought by his assortment of wounds hitting him at once. Turning around, Lincoln presses his hand against the puncture in his back whilst his eyes stare upward, Jared’s angry face meeting his own. Still armed with the bloodstained shiv, Jared pulls his hand back for a second time, aiming for Lincoln’s trachea with fatal intentions.
In the last moment, Lincoln snaps his fingers, barely able to avoid his own execution as he vanishes into thin air, allowing Jared’s swing to fall short of its mark. “Fuck!” Jared shouts, the veins in his neck protruding as he hurls the sharpened fragment at the ground, frustrated at the thought that he’d yet to fulfil his vow.
Nothing left for her to tend to, Suzie follows Lincoln’s lead, Razul and Kazro vanishing alongside her as her fingers snap. Turning back, Jared’s eyes widen, his pupils dilating as he discovers familiar faces. Silent, Jared looks to Scarlett, the woman’s presence taking his focus more than Vic’s. Equally mute, Scarlett steps forward and wraps her arms around the man’s neck, pulling him in for an embrace as the air settles, the thunder subsiding as tranquillity is restored for the time being.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
Returning to the realm above, Lincoln stumbles into the reinforced walls of his bunker, the open wound on his back beginning to spill blood along the ground with every step. “Argh fuck!” the man exclaims, gasping for air as he presses his hand against the open door’s frame, his face partially cloaked in the light of a cloudy sky. Struggling to lift himself over the top-most step, Lincoln spills onto the lawn of his backyard, its grass wetted and dirt turned to mud.
Pelted by sparse raindrops, Lincoln presses his eyelids together, huffing for each breath as his blood begins to mix with the small puddles he lays in, his will to fight starting to deplete. “Don’t move!” an unwelcoming voice shouts, the sound of it prompting Lincoln to open his eyes, his head turning toward the side of his home. “Put your hands in the air!” an officer indiscernible from any other orders, a gun held upon the wounded homeowner.
Refusing to adhere to the commands given, Lincoln presses his knuckles into the soft dirt and begins to sit up, earning himself yet another warning. “Put your hands where we can see them and stop moving!” the officer exclaims, a fleet of seven other officers following closely behind him, a large number of his fellow deputies already having been stationed in the home’s backyard.
Disobeying the instructions given yet again, Lincoln turns onto his knees as his hands rest lamely by his side, the raindrops dripping off his nose as his head hangs toward the ground. “Stay- the fuck- still!” the officer shouts for a third time, removing one hand from his firearm to retrieve the cuffs on his waistband, a gesture Lincoln notices the sound of.
His lip curling, Lincoln’s face takes on another smirk, a hushed laugh coming over him as the officer nears closer. Reinvigorated, Lincoln brings his arms across his body, pressing them against his chest before throwing them outward. “I will not warn you ag-!” the officer howls, his words vanishing just as his life does, the shockwave Lincoln unleashes hurdling him into the air with forces great enough to carry him kilometres away.
As trees are toppled, houses are levelled, cars are turned into contorted, metal frames, hydrants are popped and telephone poles are ripped from the ground, Lincoln kneels at the sudden, impossibly strong blast’s epicentre, both as its origin and as its maker. Surrounded by a sinister silence, Lincoln’s knees dig further into the moist ground, the grass that once stood around him having been plucked clean, a dirt-covered lot now all his once-residency has been turned into.
Seething, Lincoln pulls his head up, staring at the damage he’d caused in every direction, the place he’d been unearthed into now unrecognisable from what it had been seconds prior. As the sounds of sirens draw closer from the distance, Lincoln braces against his tramatas, fighting through the searing pain yet again to wage war against humanity. Climbing to his feet, Lincoln stares back to the heavens before entering them, leaving the ground and throwing himself into the sky.
\ Realm of Reality /
“And you really don’t remember me?” Scarlett inquires in a soft voice, sharing the sofa with her guests, sat on Rachel’s left whilst Jared occupies her right. “I know who you are, yeah” Rachel replies, unable to recall the young woman’s name or where she knows her from, “I don’t remember what you’re telling me.” Mustering a smile, Scarlett tries to offer her close friend comfort, struggling to conceal the great ache her unfamiliarity brings forward.
“I’m sorry it happened, though!” Rachel remarks, noticing this sadness contained within Scarlett’s expression, “you shouldn’t have been forced to leave us behind.” Holding back tears, Scarlett quietly nods to her friend, rubbing her shoulder before turning to Vic. “Can you take over for a second?-” Scarlett struggles to remark, turning her sights toward Jared as Vic approaches, “-and can we talk for a second?”
Leaving Rachel’s side, Jared makes room for Vic to take his seat as he walks after Scarlett, joining the young woman on the patio, offered a breathtaking sight of the Arabian Sea. “Well this is certainly nicer than Praireville” Jared jokes, the snicker he draws from Scarlett bringing a smile to his face. “I can’t argue with you there” Scarlett murmurs, her forearms crossed as they press into the bannister, supporting her weight.
His right hand wrapped around the railing, Jared leans his hip into the transparent border between the hardwood platform he stands upon and the calm, warm waves below. A smooth, cool breeze running past them, Jared looks to Scarlett as the woman stares into the clear water, the moment between them spent in momentary noiselessness.
“Have you been good to her?” Scarlett abruptly queries, the question not what Jared had been expecting to answer. Puckering his lips, Jared’s chin drops, unable to look at Scarlett for long without the need to squint at the sheer brightness of the nearby sun. “That’s not really a question I can answer, is it?” Jared responds, drawing Scarlett’s face in the direction of his own, “I’ve been there for her as much as possible. Whether or not that’s been enough is for her to decide.”
Taking down a wad of spit that’d built up in her mouth, Scarlett nods, another look taken toward the water as locks of her hair sway with the wind. “Where was this Jared when I was dating him?” Scarlett quips, sharing the laugh with the young man beside her this time around. Though the question wasn’t raised for an answer, Jared chooses to give one anyway, a gesture that captivates Scarlett.
“He was trying to figure out who he was” the young man responds, his amused expression having lowered into one of apologetic concern, “and he didn’t care who he had to hurt in the process.” Their eyes locking, Scarlett pulls away from the bannister and stands straight, their faces now level with each other’s as Jared interrupts the quiet pause once more.
“I’m so sorry for what I did to you” Jared confesses, watching Scarlett’s face sour, not out of anger, but out of the will to conceal deeper emotions, “I’ve regretted it every day since it happened. I was an asshole and you’ve got every right to-” Unprompted, Scarlett interrupts Jared’s admission by throwing herself into his arms, her chin resting on his shoulder as her hands lock around his back, holding him into a tight embrace as tears begin falling from her face.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-” Jared begins, half-heartedly reciprocating the hug, mistaking it for a display of sadness. “No, I’m not upset” Scarlett replies, the tears that run down each cheek accompanied by a smile, her eyes pressing together tightly. “Well, what’s the hug for?” Jared responds, his hands resting against the small of Scarlett’s back as she begins to pull away, answering the question whilst wiping loose droplets from her chin.
“I just- I didn’t really think- I didn’t-” Scarlett stumbles, tripping over her words before stepping back, taking a deep breath before organising her thoughts, “I didn’t think you cared.” Confused, Jared tilts his head to the side, watching Scarlett attempt to reiterate her point. “I thought you just didn’t care. Maybe about me, or about what we had. I thought- I don’t know” Scarlett concludes, letting go of the inhale as she shrugs, “I thought it was something about me.”
With vehement refusal, Jared shakes his head, placing his hand atop Scarlett’s shoulder as her head drops, greatly relieved of her long-running predisposition to the contrary. “You were one of a kind. You still are. I fucked up and it’d never been more clear that I needed to get my mind right than after that” Jared confesses, pulling her in for another hug, her forehead pressing against his chest as her hands press into his sides.
After a few, brief seconds, the pair pull apart once more, their eyes retaking to the parlour, a clear view of Vic and Rachel granted in partial credit to the absence of a window. “I used to be so mad at you” Scarlett mutters, gazing back to Jared, who looks at Rachel for a few more seconds before returning his glance toward Scarlett. “I was so angry. I was so- I was so mad” Scarlett remarks, shaking her head as another exhale leaves her lungs, “it feels like so long ago.”
“Well, this is the first time since- well, before your back, I guess- that we’ve even really talked” Jared replies, a chill running down his spine at the thought of time’s passing, “it looks like you’ve grown a bit since then, huh?”
“I can say the same for you” Scarlett quickly responds, a light laugh shared before her eyes take another look toward the living room, her eyes setting on Rachel, “she needs that from you.” Sharing Scarlett’s gaze, Jared places his eyes on Rachel once more, a smile coming over him at her sight. “She needs that from all of us” the man replies, looking back to Scarlett as she does to him, Vic’s phone buzzing from afar just as they eyes retake to each other.
“She might need it a little more from you, sailor” Scarlett replies, bending her index finger and tapping Jared’s chin with it, their breathy humour soon interrupted. “Scarlett!” Vic calls out, eyes widened as she glances toward the screen of her phone, her head soon pulling up to look at the blonde across the room from her, “we need to go now.”
\ Realm of Reality /
Rising above the ground, a twenty-story building stands along the top of Praireville’s skyline, it’s reputation as a small city not stripping it of the need for office space. Met with peace and undisturbed, the building remains nestled in a small downtown area suddenly entrenched in a mass frenzy uncharacteristic of its cosy, quiet-life charm.
Able to see his reflection in the windows as he ascends each level, Lincoln rises through the air, stopping four floors below the roof. Summoning his service dagger, Lincoln swipes his right arm to the left side of his body, only a second longer spent staring into his likeness before thrusting his arm forward.
To the sound of shattered glass and wrenched metal, Lincoln slashes a gargantuan wound through the building’s top, the roof destined to crater back toward earth with its supports gone. Taking one floor after another with it, the brick-crafted building topples to the ground, a structure one considered high-rise now nothing more than a cloud of ash emanating from a pile of wreckage, debris and casualties brought on by unfortunate events.
Spinning around, Lincoln stares at the road below, cars having either slammed into each other out of desperation to evade the fate their occupants worry lie ahead, or abandoned entirely. With the streets filled with panicked civilians screaming for mercy, Lincoln hovers away, the damage he’s done not likely to have concluded.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm of Reality /
“Mmph- wha?” Scarlett plaints, sinking into the seat of a hospital waiting room with her arms crossed, struggling to keep her eyes open as Vic slaps her arm. “You need to stay awake” Vic remarks, extending a foam cup of black coffee toward her friend. “They didn’t have any sugar?” Scarlett wonders aloud, pushing herself up by the armrests as Vic claims the seat beside her.
Her eyes rolling, Vic takes a brief swig from the flimsy container, pressing her teeth as the bitterness hits her tongue. “This isn’t supposed to be dessert” Vic sarcastically replies, a comforted sigh leaving her throat as she sinks into the soft seat cushion. “Still, we can’t at least enjoy it?” Scarlett responds, watching Vic tilt her head back with her eyes closed, trying to make whatever comfort she can manage.
Returning the favour, Scarlett slaps Vic’s arm with the back of her hand, earning a much similar response to the one she’d given Vic. “Payback” Scarlett jokes, resting further into her seat to a chorus of Vic’s laughter. “I wasn’t falling asleep unlike you!” Vic jokes, jutting into Scarlett’s arm with her elbow in a playful manner. Mid-sip, Scarlett’s arm tilts higher up, the foam cup spilling a sizeable amount of piping hot coffee down Scarlett’s chin and neck.
“Fuck, I’m so sorry!” Vic apologises, her earlier laughter now made stronger, unable to be held back. Mouth open, Scarlett’s arms extend outward, the cup held before her as the steaming beverage runs down her chest, dark stains running from the collar of her light blue t-shirt. “It’s a really good look on you, though!” Vic merrily mocks, the look of humoured astonishment on Scarlett’s face accompanying her breathy laughter, amused by her own misfortunes.
“Don’t be, I’m just as sorry!” Scarlett soon replies, the brim of her cup lowered as the remainder of the beverage leaves it, thrown into Vic’s face in a moment of comical retaliation. “Oh, you fucker!” Vic exclaims, wiping her eyes as her head shakes, trying to soothe the initial pain of a scorching brew running down her face.
“Oh, is that what I am?” Scarlett replies, offered a sudden reprieve from her exhaustion as she leaps from her seat, retreating from Vic in preparation for return fire. “You’re damn right!” Vic shouts mid-giggle, following Scarlett’s lead as she, too, emerges from her seat. Her knees bent, Vic wields her foam cup like a weapon, the two young women smiling as she nears, able to savour the joy of youth if even for just the moment.
Lowering herself close to the ground, Scarlett mimics Vic’s stance, one step in reverse taken for each step Vic takes forward, the room available to manoeuvre decreasing rapidly. Bobbing her head forward, Vic feigns pushing her arm forward, watching Scarlett flinch with each display, the blonde expectating every bluff to be the true assault.
Her advancement stopped, Vic looks Scarlett in the eyes, no longer pretending that any faked extension of the cup could be the real deal. No room left to retreat, Scarlett presses her palms and lower back against the drywall, prepared to evade the oncoming attempt with a smile on her face, the ends of her hair wetted.
The moment built into, Vic empties the cup forward, leaving Scarlett no warning to work off, only her anticipation to provide an answer. In the same breath as the cup emptying, Scarlett removes her hand from the wall and throws her fist to the ground, Vic’s attempts thwarted as time itself ceases, leaving the hot beverage to suspend in the air halfway between them.
Throwing herself to an unoccupied side of the room, Scarlett grants the world permission to resume, rolling to a stop as the coffee collides with the wall, slowly running to the ground. “You can’t-!” Vic remarks, eyes and mouth widened, impressed with the woman’s display, though not wanting to admit it, “you’re such a fucking cheater!”
“I’d prefer the term ‘scrappy’” Scarlett replies, tongue pressed against the inside of her molar tooth whilst Vic stands across the room from her, head shaking as her hands sit upon her hips. Disappointed, Vic’s eyes wander to their seats, able to offer as little as Scarlett can, the conversation dying as quickly as the childish banter that had paired with it.
With the laughter having fallen aside, the room goes quiet, the girls left to look to each other from a fair distance apart, neither one wanting to interrupt the silence for reasons they can’t explain. As a few seconds pass, Scarlett’s smile lessens, a similar reaction to that of Vic’s, their teeth hiding behind their lips as they close, held within a state of peaceful happiness.
Empty and unoccupied, the room’s doors remain closed, windows shut and locked tight, the girls holding its floors for themselves, forced to share its centre with no one. “You are my family” Vic remarks, her voice the only sound to register throughout the room, “you’re the only person I’ve had in life since they died. I don’t care if we’re not related by blood- you’re family.”
Her eyes lowering, Scarlett lifts her thumb to her face, a tear wiped from her eyes before it’s offered the opportunity to fall. Her emotions beginning to swell, Scarlett directs her eyes back toward Vic, her hand gently swaying through the air. “I didn’t expect any of this to happen how it has” Scarlett responds, her voice clearly affected by the fervent billow within her core, “everything’s happened so fucking fast, Vic.”
“I know” Vic murmurs, her own tears beginning to surface, her breaths more difficult to come by, “I don’t know how we keep managing to do it!” A happy chuckle brought upon both girls, Scarlett remains quiet, the floor left for Vic’s words to occupy. “It’s just gonna keep getting harder” Vic proclaims, letting free a frustrated sigh, accepting the journey that still lays ahead, “we may not deserve some of the absolute shit we get- but if there’s anyone that’s gonna handle it-”
“-It’ll be us” Scarlett interjects, watching Vic smile as she nods, their shared thought agreed upon. “It’ll be us” Vic repeats, her forearm running past her eyes, the tears that run down the side of her face wiped aside. Their joy returned, Scarlett and Vic meet in the space that sits between them, their arms wrapped around each other as they embrace, acknowledging what is to come as one, united force as opposed to one divided.
After a few moments, the room finally fills with life, West’s cane-aided limp pushing through a set of doors at the room’s rear, his arm pressed against its inside as he hobbles through. Pulling apart, the girls turn to face the man they still hold a shared dislike for, his troubled expression easy to notice despite his head being hung.
“He was in pretty bad shape” West grumbles, walking through the doorway as he travels to the nearest empty seat. “Shattered bones, busted ribs, punctured lungs- you name it” West remarks, groaning as he lowers himself into the nearest seat, Scarlett and Vic slowly approaching, their distance kept. “Apparently, it was a miracle he’d still been alive as long as he was” West explains, his eyes falling further as his head sinks into his hand.
“I guess it’s safe to assume Lincoln’s hand played a part in this” Scarlett replies, hands left on her hips as her own head hangs, Vic’s mind settling upon solutions. “Alright, so now we figure out what he’s keeping them for” Vic replies, stepping away from the group as he begins to pace, deliberately stepping on the same, space grey-coloured tiles.
“He could kill them like my dad and my friends, but they’re different in some way” Scarlett interposes, trying to aid the woman’s thoughts along. “Are your dad and friends connected?” Vic inquires, turning her sights toward the blonde across the room, “as in, would he kill your dad for the same reason he’d kill your friends?”
“I don’t know why he’d kill any of them” Scarlett responds, continuing to answer as Vic shakes her head, “it may be, I guess.”
“No, I know it could be, but what would his purpose be?” Vic quickly inquires, her hands rolling as he tries to draw parallels. “Scarlett was still on the run when her dad was shot down” West cuts in, both girls redirecting their sights upon him, “he only started going after your friends once you’d left town.”
“So it could be him trying to draw you in” Vic responds, the unproven assumption more to work off of than what they’ve discovered up to this point. “Is there any chance he could be trying to drag me into this, too?” West wonders aloud, quick to reiterate his question. “I’m not saying I’m as integral to this as you are, but he knew I’d be involved in these investigations” West clarifies, the girls considering the suggestion, “everything he’s done so far was something that also got me involved.”
“It could explain why he’d kill your friends, I guess-” Vic replies, able to see the loose connection, “but it doesn’t make sense why he’d keep kidnapping Jared and Rachel instead of killing them.”
As Vic and West’s back-and-forth continues, Scarlett crosses her arms and begin to pace, her hand lifting to the space just beneath her chin. For a few moments, Vic and West’s discussion erases itself from Scarlett’s mind, her eyes beginning to narrow as she forms her own conclusion. “What if it’s not connected?” Scarlett raises the question aloud, her back turned to the pair she shares the room with, their attention squared upon her.
“What if killing my dad was his way of erasing my connection to Praireville?” Scarlett inquires, her front turning back to the room’s occupants, “Mom leaves to stay with relatives, and I have nothing to come back to! There’s nothing stopping me from moving away and starting fresh!” Beginning to find Scarlett’s mindset, Vic follows the trail silently.
“And when you and Vic are out of the picture, there’s no one in Praireville to stop him” West continues, surprising the girls by finishing Scarlett’s thought, “then, he moves onto the next phase of his plan.”
“He kills my friends to create a panic, saves Jared and Rachel for last, and forces them to look for help” Scarlett continues, her hatred for West set aside for the moment as their ‘to and fro’ continues. “They come looking for me, he attacks the three of us and forces my hand to get the feds involved” West continues, his thought redirected at Scarlett’s behest.
“But Jared and Rachel escape, they come looking for you, and he goes to take them back- but your cop gives chase!” Scarlett continues, allowing West to drive the conclusion home. “He gets a few shots in, probably vanishes to the first place he has in mind, and Jared goes with him!” West exclaims, his teeth pressing together as he winces in pain.
“Alright, where’s the first place he’d go!?” Vic interjects, returning to the conversation just as it crosses the finish line. “That- I don’t know” West responds, his pain-ridden expression of joy falling as his head begins to shake, “there’s only one place under ‘Christopher Mead’ or ‘Lincoln Mead’ in the country, and we just came from it.”
Sighing, Vic and Scarlett feel a wave of despair come over them, the overwhelming sensation of enthusiasm they’d gradually built falling apart as quickly as their conclusions have. “Are we sure we’re not missing something here?” West wonders aloud, extending hope that the odds of their presumptions aren’t set in stone, “what if there’s something specifically we’re not thinking of? Maybe he picks a specific place to do these things, maybe there’s a specific way?”
“No, it’s all been sporadic!” Scarlett replies, one hand placed upon her hip whilst the other holds her weight as she leans against a wall, “he doesn’t have some preference for-”
“THE REALM!” Vic shouts, her voice bouncing off walls as it falls into Scarlett and West’s ears, Scarlett’s eyes immediately darting toward her. “Unless it’s some factory, or warehouse, or whatever that we’d never find without some clues, where else would he go!?” Vic exclaims, leaving West’s side as she approaches Scarlett, “the first place he’d think to go is back to the realm!”
“Can you even bring mortals into the realm!?” Scarlett responds, wanting to buy into Vic’s declaration, but unable to do so without scepticism. “I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot!” Vic exclaims, her eyes glancing between Scarlett and the sheriff, “if they’re snapping themselves out of it, they must be able to snap themselves into it!”
“I have no clue what either of you are saying, but if it’s remotely possible- do it- whatever it is” West remarks, quick to reclaim his metal cane and struggle out of the chair. “Are you able to get snipers around Lincoln’s house- like they do in the movies?” Vic inquires, West’s hesitation to correct her taking a moment to a moment to kick in.
“They’re called- oh, nevermind- yeah, I can get some people around the place” West replies, hobbling toward the entrance, “I’ll get on it now. Just don’t get yourselves hurt!”
“We’re not really planning on it, Sheriff” Scarlett replies, watching the man nod just as he throws the exit doors open, stepping into Praireville’s night with his own objective at hand. “It’s a good thing we didn’t drink the coffee” Vic mutters beneath her breath, taking in a deep breath as her eyes close, their fingers snapping in unison as they step through thin air, returning to their Maldives villa.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
Her eyes opening, Scarlett steps forward, awakening to the sight she’s grown accustomed to, the mid-2000’s technology that lines the room having welcomed her back. To her left, Scarlett stares at Vic’s podium waiting a few moments for her friend’s arrival, each moment turning to a second, each second prolonged into minutes.
Growing more anxious the longer it takes Vic to arrive, Scarlett peers off into the distance, no forsaken souls or friendly faces standing near, the same sight with an abnormal greeting. Her service weapon summoned, Scarlett fires a charge into the side of her head, ejecting her back into the Maldives home she’d begun her slumber in.
Wide-eyed, Scarlett expels herself from the seat, a quiet stroll across the room leading her to Vic, who sits just as she had, fast asleep. Confused, Scarlett turns away and returns to her seat, sinking into the soft, cosy cushion with her arms draped over its sides, her eyes closing once more, breaths becoming calm and body relaxing.
Returned to her podium, Scarlett looks to Vic’s vacant pad for a second time, the room she’d last seen no different than the one she knows, the pad Vic occupies no different from her own. “Vic!?” Scarlett exclaims, her eyes drifting from one side of the room to another, waiting for a response that never comes. “Vic, are you here!?” Scarlett shouts yet again, the entrance she’s surrounded with bathed in a heavenly white, not a reply to be offered.
“Vic!? Esotera!?” Scarlett howls, stepping forward to climb down from her pad, her mouth opening to yell once more, “is anyone-!?” In a sudden instant, the white room darkens, its lights flooding the entrance with an evil shade of red the moment Scarlett’s foot touches the floor. “All hail the king!” a chorus of deep howls sings from afar, their collective sounds carried throughout the foyer’s unexplored corridors.
Another glance around the room providing her with no answers, Scarlett catches the glimpse of an even brighter outlined drowned in a shade of red, its glow descending upon her. Left with little other choice, Scarlett backs away from the impending threat, retreating through the one walkway she’d traversed many times before.
“All hail the king!” the legion continue to exclaim, keeping in stride with Scarlett’s withdrawal, one step forward for every one step she takes in the opposite direction. “All hail the king!” the forsaken continue to bark, Scarlett’s instincts making it impossible to not glance back with every few steps, incapable of believing much progress has been made. “All hail the king!” the cheers continue, this time to both Scarlett’s surprise and horror, the chants now emanating ahead.
Cornered, Scarlett stops in the narrow corridor’s centre, listening to the chants as they continue, a similar red outline approaching from beyond. Her worried expression turning into one of absolute anger, Scarlett’s nostrils flare, her lip curling as she resummons her service weapon, prepared for war.
“All hail the king!” the trapped souls growl once more, their physical presence appearing from both sides, allowed to near closer as Scarlett awaits. Picking her opportunities carefully, Scarlett charges into the nearest wall, propelling herself toward the ground with the left side of her body as her hand balls into a fist. At a rapid speed, Scarlett’s fist collides with the ground, the force of her punch discharging a sonic blast along the colourless, tiled floor.
Hurled through the air, the legion are fired from the passageway as if they were cannon fodder, crashing into whatever remains at the entrance to each end. Momentarily cleared of her troubles, Scarlett rests on her knee, supported by the hand that remains pressed against the floor as she glances down each end. Convinced that her dilemma has been momentarily addressed, Scarlett resumes her plunge forward, able to see red-soaked, open walls in the near distance.
Armed with her service weapon, Scarlett ventures through the mouth of hell, returned to a room she’d grown very familiar with, its walls caked in red lighting whilst its floor is occupied by nameless, faceless workers. Void of the persistent legion she’d expected to discover waiting for her, their intentions set on returning fire, Scarlett stands in confusion, not met with the war-torn horde she’d anticipated.
“Is this real?” an echo-enraptured voice inquires, the hauntingly familiar voice directing Scarlett’s attention backward, the faceless woman standing behind her, hands folded as if she were praying. “Surely- by now- you know” the woman replies, one step taken forward, her lipless mouth continuing to speak. “Is any of this real?” the mystical woman inquires, urging the woman to ask of herself these questions, “all of your answers have been obvious. Ask yourself if you know the answers.”
“Can you hear me?” Scarlett responds, refusing to walk away from the woman of baffling proportions, each statement drawing the phantom closer. “The realm hears all” the figment responds, again stepping forward, hands unwilling to break from the pose they’ve taken. Suspicious, Scarlett stares into the empty space where the apparition’s eyes would otherwise be, her chin tilting high as she speaks.
“What are you?” Scarlett questions, arms held at her sides, the service weapon relinquished to the realm’s depths, embracing the spirit that walks her way. “I... am mother” the spectre replies, her answer allowing the deep, red illumination that surrounds them to fade away, the walls reclaiming their initial dull, grey colour.
Looking to the floor, Scarlett notices the distance that’s held between herself and Mother to be dwindling, aware of the importance behind each question. “What do you want from me?” Scarlett qualms, her question unanswered for a brief moment, Mother’s progression delayed for a moment as the query is processed. Without a response, Mother takes another step forward, only two paces now separating the pair from each other.
Her head leaning further back, Scarlett continues to wait for the figment’s response, refusing to accept silence as an answer. “What do you want from me?” Scarlett inquires again, the same delay given prior to Mother’s step forward, answered with the same silence. Pulling in a deep breath, Scarlett looks to the ground once more, her lips parting as she composes a final query.
“W-?” Scarlett begins to inquire, her question interrupted at the sound of creaking metal from the far distance, a set of familiar double doors separating in the room’s rear. “I’ve seen those before” Scarlett remarks, looking back to Mother’s figure, her short stature prompting Scarlett to look downward, “I’ve never been able to get in there.”
Unresponsive, Mother remains where she stands, refusing to step further, her face held toward Scarlett’s own. Another look given to the parted doors, Scarlett begins to pull away, her right foot leaving the ground in an effort to answer the call given to her. In a sudden moment, the gathered workers stop their daily activities, each desk worker turning their blank faces in Scarlett’s direction, leaving her to hesitate lowering her foot.
Compelled to pause, Scarlett looks back into Mother’s empty face, the woman unmoving in all ways, her hands kept pressed together. Her lips pressed together, Scarlett returns her foot to its original rest, her back held to the opened doors at the room’s farthest end. “What do you want from me?” Scarlett repeats for a third time, yet again met with a pause, this time elongated in its duration, allowing Scarlett the moment to reflect on her choice.
“I may have misjudged” Mother replies softly, the fifth and final step taken forward as her hands part, her left hand seeking salvation on Scarlett’s shoulder. Upon Mother’s touch, Scarlett feels the ground give out beneath her, the stable foundation she’d stood upon retracting as her body descends through the floor. Silent, Scarlett braces for impact with whatever lies ahead, able to see the slightest, most-distant ball of white light below, prepared for contact with whatever fate awaits her.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
Already familiarised with the lavish passageway she traverses, Vic passes one empty mantle after another, each covered with a thing pane of glass, the lightbulbs coating the walls in a deep, vibrant blue. Her finger squeezing the trigger, Vic fires charges of electricity at the same decrepit, tortured souls that hurry after her, their eyes glowing a bloody shade of red.
Appearing in the distance, a colourless, nondescript line shines upon the corridor’s exit, a lone, featureless door inspires a fight in her the way no other does. Her walk becoming a run, Vic charges down the passageway’s halls, passing display cases with no regard for what lays within them, each ghoul she passes allowed to permanently slumber in purgatory at the will of her service weapon.
Her path cleared, Vic’s service weapon fades into oblivion, the only thing offering her respite from the paradox she’d entered set firmly within her sights. Crashing through the doorway, Vic fails to stop her momentum and throws herself to the ground, gradually rolling to a stop in a room she’d recalled seeing before.
“Is this real?” an echo-enraptured voice inquires, the hauntingly familiar voice directing Vic’s attention backward, the faceless woman standing behind her, hands folded as if she were praying. “Surely- by now- you know” the woman replies, one step taken forward, her lipless mouth continuing to speak. “Is any of this real?” the mystical woman inquires, urging the woman to ask of herself these questions, “all of your answers have been obvious. Ask yourself if you know the answers.”
The unassuming door she’d collided with now replaced by a familiar set of double doors, Vic ascends to her feet, staring at a woman she’s seen before, though unable to discern from where. “I’ve- I’ve seen you before” Vic remarks, her finger raised toward the woman’s figure, squinting as she looks at her, trying to remember why the face appears so familiar.
“The town house!” Vic suddenly exclaims, her eyes widening as she looks into the empty face, “you were the person at the end of the road!” Unresponsive, the woman remains where Vic discovered her to be, allowing the young woman to form whatever assumptions she may. “And- and- you were the one on that chair” Vic continues, her voice lowering a few octaves, “you were the one that came at me in that hallway before.”
Still unresponsive, the figment’s face looks into Vic’s, waiting for her opportunity to speak. “Who are you?” Vic finally inquires, the phantom’s lips separating as she takes one, full step forward. “I... am Mother” the apparition replies, her hands remaining pressed together, body stood at a perfect, ninety degree angle.
“You’re mother” Vic repeats aloud, her head tilting to the left as she stares into the woman’s face, unable to decipher what that means. Considering Mother’s response for a moment, Vic crafts another question off a baseless assumption, one she keeps private, stored far within the inner reaches of her mind. “When does all of this end?” Vic inquires, watching Mother’s figure step forward once more, the black clothes she wears made to look darker in the offer lobby’s blue lighting.
“When someone claims the throne” Mother replies, her voice carried toward the heavens, the walls rising past Vic’s line of sight, travelling beyond what she’s physically able to see. Puzzled, Vic repeats the answer in her head, eyes drifting to empty spaces in the room as she ponders what to ask next. “W-?” Vic begins to inquire, her words falling short of their escape past her tongue, a sudden qualm settling upon her mind at the last moment.
“What do you want from me?” Vic wonders aloud, awaiting the pause that Mother meets her with, watching the phantom step forward without an answer. Her head turned toward the side, Vic remains silent, continuing to wait for the response until it becomes clear that one is not imminent.
“Wha- What do you want from me?” Vic asks for a second time, the silence persisting as Mother steps forward, her posture unchanged from what she’d arrived with. With a deep sigh, Vic glances around the room, unsure of what to make of the display. “W-?” Vic attempts to ask once more, interrupted before her question can be raised as a set of doors pull apart near the back of the room, her sights set upon them as her eyebrow raises.
No less bewildered than when she’d entered the room being, Vic turns away from the doors, again laying her focus upon Mother. “What do you want from me?” Vic asks for a third time, unanswered for the third consecutive attempt as Mother steps forward, her left hand pulling away from her right, seeking refuge upon Vic’s arm.
“I judged adequately” Mother whispers, her lips pulling together in the form of a smile, her face directed toward Vic’s own as the floor gives out. Taken with gravity, Vic descends through a space of total darkness, a small ball of light that awaits her below only enlarging the further she plummets. Her arms crossed over her chest, Vic braces for what lies ahead, not a shout, nor a declaration uttered as she hurtles toward uncertainty, making peace with whatever is to come.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm of Reality /
“Aagghh!” Lincoln exclaims, dragging Montes and Jared back to the fortified bunker with the snap of his finger, Montes’ momentum carrying through the sudden transportation. Swept off his feet, Lincoln slams into the cold, solid concrete shoulder-first, the inexperienced, yet adrenaline-driven officer wrapping his arms around the criminal and tackling him to the ground.
Released from Lincoln’s grasp the moment his feet touch solid ground, Jared’s body shifts backward, his legs unsteady for only a moment. Slamming into the reinforced metal wall, Jared spends little time regrouping, his arms pushing him toward Rachel’s bed. “You son of-!” Lincoln exclaims, not taking long to realise his prior efforts were not quick enough, the exclamation interrupted by Montes’ fist striking his jaw.
“Rachel!?” Jared shouts, gazing around the bunker to discover it empty aside from his presence, Montes and Lincoln’s brawl persisting whilst his fellow prisoner is nowhere to be found. Dazed, Lincoln’s thoughts blur for a moment, only able to feel the younger, deceivingly-strong man climb top him, his hand duked.
Struggling to register his predicament, Lincoln’s eyes move from the empty pit just beyond the still-open bunker door and to the bottom of its exit. Not satisfied with the small cut his first shot had drawn from the corner of Lincoln’s brow, Montes throws a second, the knuckle of his index finger pressing into the side of the killer’s face, shattering the man’s nose.
Operating off of his instinct, Montes throws another three strikes, all landing in the corner of Lincoln’s eye, each shot stripping the realm-leaper of his impenetrable mystique. Made to appear surprisingly mortal, Lincoln’s mind fails to grasp memory of his powers, only able to defend himself by pushing Montes away. Crawling to the daylight that splashes upon the floor just beyond the foxhole, Lincoln stretches his hand toward salvation, his brain barely more than scrambled gelatin.
Snarling at the man’s attempt to escape, Montes’ procedural mindset ceases to exist, his every thought rooted in the quest for violent revenge. Wiping the spit from his face, Montes climbs to his feet and charges at the bunker’s door. Throwing his foot forward, Montes kicks the entrance’s centre and pushes it forward, the only thing standing between itself and the frame it locks into being Lincoln’s sprawled-fingered, left hand.
His blood-curdling scream bouncing off the shelter’s walls, Lincoln slumps into the corner, his left hand shattered to great extent, bent fingers and bone fragments breaking through skin. Growling, Montes takes in a few deep breaths before retrieving his firearm, lifting it with one arm in an executioner’s pose.
“No, wait!’ Jared exclaims, his voice strengthening as he extends his hand, stopping Montes just before the trigger could be pulled, the rookie’s eyes turning toward him. “Rachel’s not-!” Jared begins, interrupted before he can finish his statement. Though groggy, Lincoln regains his wherewithal, the lone operational hand he has thrown forward in a fit of agonising rage.
The room momentarily bathed in a harsh, blue light, Montes’ feet leave the ground with brutal force, his finger accidentally pulling the trigger as he flies backward, colliding with the bolstered wall. Crumbling to a heap on the floor, Montes lays limp, his grasp on the weapon relinquished, allowing it to join him in toppling to the ground, laying motionless and still.
Having crossed them before his face to protect himself, Jared’s arms lower, his eyes falling upon Montes’ crumpled heap before soon firing back to Lincoln in a rage. Stirring, the killer looks to his hand once more, his fingers dangling as he holds it high. Eyes widened in pain, Lincoln looks to Montes’ body across the room from him, undisturbed by the sight of what he’d done.
Almost as if he knew enough to expect what he’d find, Lincoln turns his head toward Rachel’s bed, Jared’s irate eyes already having turned themselves toward him. For the first time, Lincoln finds himself outmatched, his injuries and head trauma severely limiting him in such a vulnerable position. Shaking his head, Lincoln moves his lips but doesn’t speak, watching Jared dash across the room with his foot raised.
At the last moment, Lincoln’s one unencumbered hand presses its fingers together, his skin dragging against itself in a snap. The bunker vanishing, Lincoln’s head crashes into the drab, lifeless tiled-floors of his home, Jared’s foot having struck the side of his skull as if it were a football in the last second. His momentum yet to cease, Jared’s foot throws itself forward as he hurls himself through the air, no longer able to depend on heavy-duty walls to halt his progress.
Through the archway, Jared slams into the floor, rolling to a stop as he slides into the legs of a long, nondescript conference table, his body surely to be bruised by the collision. “Ffuucckk” Jared groans, the side of his face pressing against the ground, his palms pressed against its boring tiled finish coloured in multiple shades of grey.
“You can’t escape me!” Lincoln shouts, slurring his words as he attempts to climb off the floor, the sound of his voice reinvigorating Jared’s anger. “I mean it- it’s impossible now” Lincoln barks, reaching for the nearest support whilst Jared pushes himself up, his right hand sinking into his back pocket. “You and your girl are already doomed!” the large man growls, making it to his knees just as Jared closes in.
Looking upward, Lincoln watches Jared’s hand pull back, his only thought being to shield himself from the teenager’s unpredictable attack. Sacrificing his lone, undamaged hand, Lincoln sprawls his fingers outward, covering his head and neck as Jared’s hand swings through the air. Pain having enraptured his body in various places by now, Lincoln fails to notice Jared’s offence at first, a few seconds passing before his eyes return to the scorned young man’s eyes.
Following his arm as if it were a trail, Lincoln’s eyes inevitably reach Jared’s hand, the plastic shiv his assailant had whittled now piercing through the rear side of his hand. With incredible force, Lincoln shouts in pain as Jared rips the weapon from his hand, the process he’d made to bury it within his palm repeated various times over, the makeshift blade persistently tearing through his flesh, leaving behind a bloody scene of destroyed tendons, muscle and bones.
His screams continuing, Lincoln finally breaks away from Jared’s grasp, his forehead pressing against the ground as he hunches over. On his knees and defenceless, Lincoln grunts in pain, unable to watch Jared pull his hand back once more, both mangled hands hidden beneath his body as he lays against the floor. “Someone!” Rachel exclaims, somewhere hidden deep within the room, her voice enough to free Jared from his initial intentions.
As if his every thought were replaced by only one goal, Jared turns to the source of the noise, leaving Lincoln tending after the irreparable damage inflicted to him. “Rachel!” Jared shouts, throwing himself into boring, featureless walls in chase of the young woman, his sights only set on the path ahead.
“I’m in here! I’m in here!” Rachel screams, the call of her name nearing closer with each shout. “Rachel!” Jared shouts once more, drawn to the dark corners her voice originates from, a poorly-lit office proving to offer his destination, the young woman he chases after left tied to a chair in its centre. “Where am I!?” Rachel exclaims, her frantic pleas for help finally answered, leaving room for the horrified fears she’d been left to stew within.
“I’m here! I’m right here, Rachel!” Jared replies, slicing away at the rope until Rachel is freed, her arms wrapping around him immediately. “I thought you were never gonna find me!” Rachel whimpers, her cheeks coloured a bright red as tears stream down her face, the back of her head held in Jared’s hand. “I’m always gonna find you- I promise” Jared whispers, his eyes kept open, still uncertain over the answer to her initial question.
Stood in a small, well-lit pod, Esotera stares at an empty wall, its walls coloured a deep blue. Motionless, Esotera faces the blank canvas with her arms at her side, eyes as stoic as the rest of her body. Without warning, Esotera’s vibrant blue walls turn to an angry shade of red, the sound of buzzers firing throughout the cramped confines.
Head turning to a small set up of computers, charts and level readings, Esotera approaches the equipment with a puzzled look, almost in disbelief of what she’s discovering. “We’ve been breached” Esotera remarks, her attention set upon one specific screen out of many, two red dots flashing in the realm’s deepest, most-obscure corridors.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
Silent, Scarlett crosses one leg over the other, sat in a chair across the room from the sheriff she’s become all too familiar with, a look of disgust cemented across her face. Though not from a place of bitterness, West remains quiet as well, his eyes held on Scarlett’s repulsed expression, his arms laid upon the sides of his chair.
“Do you know anything?” Vic inquires, occupying the middle-most seat of the couch, sat directly between her friend and the sheriff, eyes laid upon the officer with a few skeletons in his closet. “Uh, no” West replies, almost forgetting where he was for a moment, his mind starting to draw blanks. “They were there one minute, then- then they were gone the next” West remarks, returning his eyes to the phlegmatic young woman across the room, “I have no idea where they are.”
“And you can’t trace him?” Vic continues, her right arm resting against the sofa’s back whilst her left arm sits loosely in her lap. “I’ve tried. Something must’ve happened in the- whatever they did” West replies, his mind still taken aback by various questions, “he’s a ghost as far as I know.”
Lip pressed against the roof of her mouth, Vic’s head hangs, her thoughts kept quiet as Scarlett interrupts, directing the conversation herself. “How did you know about us?” Scarlett wonders aloud, the tone of her voice making it clear to the sheriff that she feels a great scorn for him. “I didn’t until yesterday. Jared put the pieces together” West replies, his tone subdued, nearly the exact opposite of Scarlett’s, “the bust at the end there, the explosion- those were the missing pieces.”
“And you just believed it?” Scarlett quickly inquires, the man’s calm, understanding tone not compelling her to ease the approach. “I’d seen what Lincoln could do” West replies just as swiftly, wavering an open hand down the length of his own body, “I was pretty well introduced to it, wouldn’t you say?”
Silent again, Scarlett listens to the man, refusing to answer. “When Jared pieced everything together, it all just- just felt right” West continues, his voice growing more frail, exhaustion beginning to set in, “I don’t know if there’s much I can’t believe anymore.” Her fingers sloped over the armrest’s end, Scarlett’s stare persists, her eyes inspecting the man’s damaged body.
“Is there anything you do know?” Vic interjects, reclaiming West’s attention, “anything that could give us a clue as to where we should look?” His teeth pressed together, West shakes his head subtly as he stares into the distance, the Arabian Sea’s calm waves in his view. “He said they were kept in a bunker. Some unfamiliar house and neighbourhood in Praireville” West responds, rubbing the sides of his head as he thinks beyond that.
“He said Rachel had amnesia. We took her to a hospital, that’s where he snatched her back, and everything went down” West explains, the subtle headshake growing increasingly rapid. “Aside from that, there’s not much I know” West replies, his head beginning to hang before another thought enters his mind, the recollection lifting his eyes in Scarlett’s direction.
Noticing this gesture, Scarlett snaps from her oath of quietude, “what?” she asks bluntly, almost holding the answer beneath her breath. His head drifting to the side, West’s expression begins to shift, the look of sudden thought twisting into hesitation. “What were you about to say?” Scarlett repeats, leaning slightly forward in her seat, her back no longer touching the chair.
“It-” West begins before again going quiet, much to Scarlett’s dismay. Pushing herself the rest of the way from her seat, Scarlett steps forward, only stopped when Vic matches her gesture, putting herself in Scarlett’s path. “You were going to tell me something. Say it or I’ll fucking kill you!” Scarlett orders, watching West’s demeanour change, less desiring to withhold the truth from Scarlett, but more so a slight fear over what will happen.
“Scarlett, calm down” Vic murmurs, her left arm wrapped around the young woman’s upper body, trying to restrain her friend. “Get off me, Vic” Scarlett grunts, pushing her right hand into Vic’s chest, trying to force her escape. “Scarlett, this isn’t going to help!” Vic exclaims, feeling Scarlett’s palm dig into her chest cavity, trying to force her away.
“Vic, stop!” Scarlett exclaims, the struggle she presents slowly descending into an outright confrontation, her warnings continuing to be ignored. “Scarlett, for fuck’s sake! Stop!” Vic shouts, her pleas again unheeded, the woman’s need to know overpowering her better judgement. No longer able to control herself, Scarlett spins their positions around, her back now held toward West whilst Vic’s is directed to her prior seat.
Within a moment, Vic’s feet leave the ground, her efforts at restraining Scarlett backfiring. Her arms crossed, Vic tears through the patio doors, her head and neck sliced by loose shards of glass. Before long, the breath she’d pulled in proves to be her salvation, the hot, coastal-Maldives air replaced by a warm, refreshing taste of the Arabian Sea.
The parlour having doubled as a wind tunnel, West’s chair is toppled over, his wounded body rolling along the ground as the air begins to still. Her time limited, Scarlett reaches toward the ground, her hand wrapping around the collar of the sheriff’s shirt. “What were you going to say!?” Scarlett shouts, her knuckle resting beneath West’s chin as she drags him upward, holding him against the wall with one hand, effortlessly suspending him high above the ground.
“L- Lin- Lincoln!” West chokes, unable to breath with the weight of Scarlett’s hand pressing into his throat, only able to hiss the answer. “What about him!?” Scarlett exclaims, summoning her service weapon from the realm beyond, the bright red glow of her barrel held to his face. “He killed-” West begins to reply, his hands having wrapped around the woman’s wrist, trying with all of his might to capture even the slightest huff of air.
His eyes growing bloodshot, West begins to complete his thought, a sudden reprieve from his suffocation the only thing sparing him from having to do so. Capitalising on Scarlett’s preoccupation, Vic soars through the air and captures the blonde’s throat in her hand, the young woman’s feet swept as Vic holds her throat against the floor.
“Calm- the fuck- down!” Vic screams, her knees pressed on Scarlett’s left wrist whilst her free hand holds the other down. “Stay the fuck out of this, Vic!” Scarlett exclaims, her demands refusing to be met as Vic keeps steady. “Get a hold of yourself, damnit!” Vic shouts, the hold she keeps on Scarlett offering the woman beneath her little other choice.
“I lost my parents because of short-tempered bullshit like this!” Vic screams, feeling Scarlett’s struggle begin to lessen, “you’re the only family I have left! Don’t let me lose you like that, too!” Her gritted teeth falling behind her lips, Scarlett looks Vic in the eyes with sympathy, her anger slowly beginning to dwindle. “B- but you said-” Scarlett begins to mumble, her response cut short.
“My dad thought she was cheating, so he shot her” Vic replies, hairs hanging over her face whilst her eyes press together, “then he killed himself.” Mouth agape, Scarlett looks through the hanging strands of hair and into Vic’s eyes, a single tear falling from her left eye. “I collected the life insurance- don’t bother asking how” Vic concludes, her lips beginning to press together, “I moved on with life, met you- here we are.”
Hand wrapped around his injured ribs, West listens to the revelation from across the room, spectating the admission from afar. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Scarlett replies, eyes narrowing as her head shakes. “Because it wasn’t important until now” Vic responds, finally releasing her grip on Scarlett’s wrist and throat. “The point is you’re the only family I have, and I can’t lose you” Vic finishes, watching Scarlett sit up, her back against the wall, “I need you here. I need you to stick with me.”
Head lowered, Scarlett glances in the direction West lays in, thinking quietly to herself before returning her eyes to Vic’s face, only answering with a nod. Somewhat disappointed in herself, Scarlett pulls her legs close, hands resting atop her bent knees as West interjects. “I think Lincoln killed your father” West remarks, the sights of both girls dawning over him, “the shot must’ve come from a hill a few hundred yards away. It was the only possible place to take that kind of shot from.”
“Wait, wh- what-? Why?” Scarlett responds, following the man’s figure as he drags himself into the parlour’s corner, his head resting against the drywall. “There was no evidence left behind. No shell, no marks- it was like no one had ever even been there before” West replies, struggling to catch his breath, wincing with each puff, “it’s consistent with every crime I’ve connected to him by now. I’ve got no reason to think it was anyone other than him.”
“Why would he want her dad dead?” Vic soon inquires, nearly cutting his conclusion short. “I don’t know” West replies with a sigh, his head shaking, his hair ruffled by the day’s events, “why would he want Jared and Rachel? I’d assume it’s the same reason, but that’s the best I’ve got.” Her K-9 teeth sinking into the soft flesh of her bottom lip, Scarlett’s eyes begin to widen, taking West’s earlier metaphor seriously, piecing together the information she’s been given.
“He killed my dad and my friends- but he leaves Rachel and Jared alive” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, just loud enough for Vic to overhear. “My ex boyfriend and my best friend are kept alive, but my father and friends are dead- why?” Scarlett restates, the question directed at herself. “Why do you think there’s a connection?” Vic responds, her answer given as if it were obvious.
“Why else would he torture them instead of killing them!?” Scarlett quickly replies, “there has to be a reason he’s treating them differently.”
Struggling to slide the phone from his pocket, West pulls away from the girls’ conversation to answer the call, his face going cold the moment he recognises the voice.
“It’s a two-story house just a- urgh- few miles out of the city” Montes grunts, a pool of blood filling his mouth as he lays on the asphalt parkway, an 1941 Dodge Custom Town Sedan parked just beside him. “No, West- they’re gone” Montes groans, the dark red gore that runs down his chin beginning to trickle onto the ground, “I don’t know where they went.”
His insides scrambled, Montes’ hand loses its power, the phone’s screen lighting as it falls to the ground, its sensors no longer covered by his ear. “Rookie!? ROOKIE!?” West shouts, his yells putting a natural conclusion upon Scarlett and Vic’s conversation. “What’s wrong?” Vic questions, watching West smack the small, pocket-sized device in hopes the call had simply dropped.
“How fast can we get to the outskirts of Praireville!?” West hurriedly exclaims, his breaths becoming heavy.
All three losing their balance as they appear through the veil of thin air, West is the first to fight through the shift, throwing himself toward the front of the home. Bracing against his injuries, West struggles through the slightly-overgrown grass, able to find a pair of prone legs before he even rounds the house. “Rookie!” West shouts, losing his stability as he reaches the lawn’s end, only asphalt welcoming him as he falls forward palm-first.
Glassy eyed, West crawls over to the young deputy, Scarlett and Vic soon following closely behind, helpless to do more than discover the scene. “I can’t- I can’t find- a pulse!” West shouts, his fellow officer unable to respond to the declaration of his title. “Rookie, come on- you’ve got family waiting for you!” West grunts, weakly providing CPR that ultimately offers little more than wasted effort.
“Come on, kid! It’s too soon to be your time!” West continues, Montes’ chest too broken to support his efforts, his life already lost. “Sheriff, I think-” Vic remarks, reaching out for West’s shoulder, only to have it swatted away at the last moment. “No! No, he’s-!” West exclaims, stopping himself before the sentence can be finished, slowly accepting that his attempts are futile.
Resting his head on Montes’ chest, West tries to catch his breath, Vic’s eyes looking at him apologetically whilst Scarlett’s remain indifferent.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“Where are you!?” Lincoln exclaims, his voice carried through narrow tunnels and corridors, echoing in the same distance that Jared and Rachel traverse. “In here!” Jared whispers, leading Rachel down a flight of stairs by the hand, their destination yet to be determined. “What is this place?” Rachel queries, prompting Jared to take his first, true glance at the realm beyond, unable to answer the question.
“I don’t know” the man whispers, again hearing Lincoln’s shout in the distance, the sound somehow seeming to always be the same length away no matter how far they travel. Choosing one characterless office space of hundreds, the mortal pair hide within the room’s dark confines, ducking behind a desk with little other options.
“There’s nowhere for you to run!” Lincoln exclaims, wandering the realm beyond aimlessly, his anger made apparent through every step. “I could say the same thing for you” Suzie replies, Razul and Kazro following closely behind as she treks down a set of stairs, closing in on her brother.
“Watch your step, Suzannah” Lincoln replies, his punctured hand still able to fight through pain in summoning his service dagger. “I swear, sometimes I have a hard time believing you were ever the realm’s chosen one” Suzie replies, reaching the bottom step whilst Lincoln backs away, continuing to create separation between them. “How do you bring mortals into the realm beyond and lose them?” Suzie inquires, her own service dagger summoned, “I can’t wrap my mind around it.”
“You don’t need to. Go back to wherever you came from and stay there” Lincoln commands, the completion of his order succeeded by the sound of roaring thunder. “I don’t think I’m going to do that” Suzie replies, continuing to step forward, her brother’s retreat gradually taking him closer to the mezzanine’s abyss.
“You don’t want to do this, Suzie” Lincoln replies, his feet leaving the ground as he reaches the floor’s edge, hovering through the air as Suzie looks on, unimpressed. “What is your plan, exactly?” the woman inquires, slowly lifting herself off the floor just as her brother does, their eyes meeting as they reach the mid-air equivalent of level ground.
“Suzie-” Lincoln begins, again interrupted by the roaring sound of thunder, the white light that shines over both the bonsai tree and the siblings turning a menacing red. “Suzie, I don’t want to kill you” Lincoln warns, the woman again refusing to heed his advice, her eyes glowing a shade of red.
“Yeah- I figured that before” Suzie replies, the thunder overhead just beginning to grow louder, ripping through the air with great aggravation. “Your reluctance is why you don’t sit on the throne” Suzie remarks, again prompting the realm to roar angrily. “And that it’s easy for you to kill your own is why you don’t” Lincoln responds, another crash slamming through the mezzanine, serving as the backdrop to their impending clash.
“I guess we’ll have to see” Suzie replies, a bright flash of light emitting from her dagger, a pulse of electricity coursing through its fine edges and sleek finish. “If that’s what you wish-” Lincoln replies, matching her gesture as he pulls his hand back, a blue light flashing from his weapon, ready for conflict, “-I’m sorry, sister.”
The realm beginning to shake, Lincoln and Suzie pull away from each other, the open drop above the realm’s chasm set as their battleground. An equal distance apart, the siblings look each other in the eye, their irises bathed in their respective colour. The first to advance, Suzie charges onward, her brother soon to follow, their daggers aimed at each other’s throats as they march forward, peace made with the fates that await them.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm of Reality /
Entering the precinct with a duffle bag in hand, Montes steps by his coworkers at random, his uniform left at home in favour of a casual t-shirt and jeans. “Toby, your shift started two hours ago!” an officer remarks, one foam cup of coffee held in his right hand. “Is the sheriff in yet?” Montes responds, disregarding the officer’s remarks as he steps past, his travels taking him toward West’s office regardless of his presence.
The brief exchange bringing more eyes toward his direction, Montes continues forward, refusing to speak to anyone other than West. Making his way to the back of the precinct, Montes throws his hand out, pushing West’s office door open with little resistance, the partially-broken man looking up at him as he enters. “Does your generation know what it means to knock?” West inquires, blenching as he leans back in his seat.
“What the fuck is this!?” Montes howls, keeping his voice below a whisper as he holds his hand high, the cubed camera resting within the palm of his hand. “That’s the camera that- by the look on your face- I’ll assume you’ve watched the video of” West replies, pressing his hand against his chest to subdue the pain.
“Have you seen this!?” Montes responds, throwing his duffle bag into a corner of the room, an unbuttoned dress shirt flowing over his blue tee as he takes a seat. “I have. I saw it just before I brought it to you” West replies, allowed to speak further amidst Montes’ paused astonishment, “have you made your decision?”
“Yeah- I have!” Montes remarks, laying the recorder on the desk before flicking it with his finger, allowing it to gently fall into West’s lap. “Do whatever you want with it. Keep it, come to your senses and turn it in- fucking burn it- I don’t care” Montes answers, giving the bag he’d packed a light smack, “I’m getting the fuck out of town before it’s too late for me.”
“Wai- what!?” West blurts out, paining himself as he suddenly jolts forward, caught by surprise, “you can’t leave!” Having already left his chair and begun to lift his bag, Montes amuses West’s reaction, “why not?” he asks, slowly lifting the bag’s strap over his shoulder. “Oh come on, do I really need to spell it out for you?” West answers, pushing his chair back as he struggles to a stand, groaning as he does, “we’re the only people in this precinct that know what we’re really facing.”
“Then clue someone else in- I don’t care” Montes responds, the strap lifting over his head, draped across his body, “I’m sure there’s other cops that’ll tell you what you want to hear.” His head hung, West places his hands against the surface of his desk, the cane leant against his seat. “I don’t a ‘yes’ man, rookie” West replies, again managing to halt Montes’ progress toward the exit, “I need someone that’ll actually help me get to the bottom of what’s going on here.”
“Why the fuck does it need to be me!?” Montes quickly inquires, no longer subduing the shouts he now emits freely, “why can’t any of these other pricks help you!?” Though his wounds still affect him greatly, West musters the power to raise one fist to the air, slamming it back upon the desk with convincing authority. “Who the hell says I want help from the other pricks!?” West shouts back, his face flushed with anger.
“You’ve got a unit chock full of guys more helpful than I could ever be-” Montes starts to reply, interrupted by West’s correction. “And yet I don’t seem to care for any of them” the sheriff replies, a retort that, in the least, sweeps Montes of his first thought. “You’ve got the passion for this stuff that I haven’t had in years and the decency of someone that actually wants to do good” West explains, his words softer as he tends to his injuries, “you’re one of the few good apples.”
Unsure of how to react, Montes stands halfway between the sheriff and the exit to his office, his adamance not strong as it had been before. “You’re the only person, believe it or not, that I think I can genuinely trust in here” West declares, hands still pressing into the workspace, “please, just see this through. Hell, I’ll even hand you walking papers so you can claim severance. Just stick the rest of this out with me, would you?”
Behind his lips, Montes’ teeth press together, his mind still set on leaving, though West’s admission throws a wrench into his plan. “I have family, sheriff” Montes replies, though the statement would be viewed as a gentle way of refusal, the deputy’s tone of voice proves his mind has still yet to be made.
“Where the fuck is he!?” a strong, affirmative voice exclaims, Montes staring to his exit just as West does, the familiar reflection emerging from the other side. Cane in hand, West limps through his office door, Montes following closely behind, the bag’s strap still across his chest. Hearing the sheriff’s grunts, Jared and Rachel turn to lock eyes with West, the sides staring at each other in awe.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“You find something new around every corner, don’t you?” Scarlett jokes, walking a few steps ahead of Vic as she follows Esotera, departing a long corridor in favour of a dark, conference space. Whilst the ground is painted a sleek grey and walls stand out with a marble finish, the room hosts a long, slim conference table in its centre a few metres below ground level, surrounded by steps leading out from the decline.
Taking the seat at the table’s end, Esotera watches Scarlett and Vic diverge upon opposite sides, Scarlett sat to her right whilst Vic occupies the chair on her left. “Alright. We’re here” Scarlett murmurs, Vic continuing to remain quiet, allowing the conversation to happen around her.
“The walls should be strong enough to keep your delusions at bay” Esotera replies, sliding her chair closer toward the table, hands folded atop it. “Are you positive they won’t happen?” Scarlett inquires, though able to trust Esotera, finds difficulty trusting much else. “Not one hundred percent- no” the extraordinary guardian replies, watching the disappointed look appear on Scarlett’s face, “but as far as meeting points go- this might be the best you’ll get.”
Holding back a sigh, Scarlett turns her face away from Esotera, her eyes following the recreated black lines that swirl within the dark brown finish in their wooden conference table. “I see one thing is undeniable, however” Esotera remarks, Vic’s attention staying upon her whilst Scarlett’s is re-earned.
“As far as these paradoxes go- while I can’t tell you whether they’re delusions or not- I can tell you that they’ve benefitted you well” Esotera remarks, her eyes setting upon Vic, “you’ve gained new powers.”
Their eyes widening, Scarlett and Vic turn their curiosity upon each other. “From what else I can gather, it seems these abilities are-” Esotera begins, both girls returning their gaze as she pauses, her chin leaning forward, “occupant-specific.”
Clearly unfamiliar with the phrase, the girls remain silent, waiting for their guardian to continue. “The two of you have discovered a power that the other cannot possess” Esotera clarifies, only further deepening each girl’s confusion, “those powers-”
“Those powers are as pre-determined as anything else in this god-forsaken realm” Suzie interjects, entering the conference room with her brutes closeby. Summoning their service weapons, Scarlett and Vic prepare for defence, a gesture Suzie assures them is fruitless. “I’m not here to kill you. Actually, I’m sort of here to help you” the trespasser explains, stepping down the short flight of stairs and walking past Vic, rounding the table’s end to sit at the last few seats on Scarlett’s side.
“Why would we want your help?” Scarlett wonders aloud, not allowing Suzie to occupy a seat before asking the question, her answer coming with just as much ease. “Because I was right about the delusions, that’s a start” Suzie answers, her elbow pressing into the table as she props her chin up with her hand, “and because I know the secrets you want answers to.”
Unable to hold a slight smirk back, Scarlett laughs through her nose and turns away, slowly climbing the stairs to make her departure. “All hail the king” Suzie calls out, watching Scarlett’s slow exit halt quickly, the young blonde staring back at her with widened eyes. Watching Scarlett’s expression shift, Vic’s eyes redirect themselves toward Suzie, the girl returning the favour.
“I can’t quite say what you’re experiencing, but I know what-” Suzie begins to add, addressing Vic before Scarlett interrupts, storming toward her with a vengeance. “How did you know-!?” Scarlett begins to shout, taking the intruder by the collar of her shirt to little success, Suzie’s equally red service blade pressed against her throat before her thought can be completed.
“Not so fast, pariah” Suzie whispers, her free hand wrapping around Scarlett’s collar just as hers resides, “I know what’s coming for you. Heed my advice and save that anger.” As swiftly as she had commanded the discourse, Suzie shoves Scarlett back, nodding her head toward the seat the younger woman had previously occupied. “Why are you here?” Vic interjects, returning Suzie’s sights toward herself, “what do you want?”
“That’s easy. I’m here to kill you” Suzie replies, smiling as the girls’ posture changes, their service weapons summoned, “relax, relax- I’m not interested in that yet.” Leaning back in her seat, Suzie extends the opposite of a defensive approach, her feet kicked upon the tabletop as she continues.
“You see, I used to be you. Before the two of you, Lincoln and I were the realm’s keepers” the woman confesses, her eyes drifting into space as she recollects. “I know exactly how the two of you started, and I know exactly how your stories are gonna end” she furthers, her voice lowering as she leans back further, “the realm may give you free will, but it’s already determined what your fate is.”
Her arms growing tense, Scarlett stares toward the woman whilst she speaks, a scowl held. “How do you know this?” Vic inquires, watching Suzie spn toward her just as the chair she sits on does, “if you’re here, we shouldn’t be- I thought that’s how it worked.” Her tongue pressed into the corner of her lip, Suzie waits for a moment, remaining quiet until the sound of thunder rolls in, shaking the walls gently.
“Technically speaking, I’m not alive” Suzie responds, the lean in her seat strengthening as she waves her hand from one side of her face to the other. “I’m a soul trapped just like the rest” Suzie replies, the features of her face vanishing in favour of a grey, drab, indistinguishable expression, “but it’s difficult to keep the devil locked in hell when he controls the damned and his seat is empty.”
With another swipe, Suzie’s face returns to normal, her eyes as distinct as her smile, the form of a person no different from Scarlett or Vic. “So you broke out of hell?” Vic repeats, obvious scepticism carried in her question, “if you’re the devil, does that make Lincoln-?”
“No, Lincoln is not god. Honestly, I’m a little offended you’d think that” Suzie interrupts, scoffing at the idea. “Lincoln is just a mortal like the rest of us, and fallible just the same” Suzie continues, a thought dawning over her as she lifts a finger toward the air, “however, he’s an example of the realm changing its rules more so than anything else.”
Correctly assuming that Suzie would answer their next question, Scarlett and Vic remain seated, watching Suzie stand up and begin pacing around the room. “When you die in the real world, your soul is supposed to belong to the realm. Well, Lincoln did just that” Suzie explains, her lip curling as her thoughts grow bitter, “when I ran my dagger across his throat, that was supposed to be the end of him.”
Her hands clasped behind her back, Suzie paces the stone steps, turning back to repeat the process each time she reaches the step’s conclusion. “I did what I needed to so I could live. He died right there and that was it” Suzie explains, her aimless wandering coming to a stop, eyes taking to one of the distant walls, “I have no idea how he’s even here right now.”
“And he wants us dead too?” Scarlett ponders aloud, her question snapping Suzie from her sullen self-reflection. “We all want each other dead, that’s how it’s supposed to go” Suzie replies, the room again beginning to shake beneath the power of distant thunder, its might unable to breach the marble walls.
“The two of you are next in line for the throne. If you die, it becomes Lincoln’s turn. If the three of you die, It’ll be my turn” Suzie answers, holding back a grin, “that’s the line of succession.”
“You said the realm rejected you before, though” Vic responds, immediately drawing the ire of the woman ahead, her scowl more than noticeable from across the room. “I wasn’t proven. I killed Lincoln out of anger, not to rule the realm” Suzie retorts, presenting a force in her tone that she doesn’t care much to hide, “killing Lincoln and the two people it chose to replace me must be enough to prove myself worthy.”
“Oh, so this could all be for show!?” Scarlett replies, matching Suzie’s rage-bitten tone with one of condescension, “you could be putting all this effort into something utterly pointless?” The balance of confrontation shifting, Suzie’s calm manner settles, revealing a combative truth as she steps across the room, engaging in the argument Scarlett baited her into.
“Listen, blondie. The only reason I don’t kill you right now is because it’d work against me” Suzie replies, her service dagger summoned just as before, “don’t question my fucking motives.” Her eyebrows furrowed, Scarlett stares at the woman, both of their eyes glowing red for just a few seconds before Vic interrupts. “You may have a reason to keep us alive- but we don’t” Vic remarks, summoning her deep blue service weapon.
Annoyed, Suzie steps back, both she and Scarlett losing the red glow in their eyes as the infiltrator retreats. “Fine. Do whatever you want and believe whatever you will” Suzie replies, releasing her dagger as she readies her hand. “I’m telling you now. If you see Lincoln, put him down. We can get this over with whenever you’d like” Suzie explains, thrusting her fingers together.
She and her brutes disappearing into thin air, Suzie leaves Scarlett and Vic to themselves, their service weapons still cradled in their grasp as they look at each other, both thinking what neither wants to say.
\ Realm of Reality /
“I think they’re still alive” Jared replies, cradling Rachel’s hand in his own as she lies atop a hospital bed, waiting for doctors to arrive. “And you said they what?” West clarifies, his cane resting against the armrest of his chair, Montes standing a few spaces beside him. “He said they made it to a beach before the plane crashed” Jared responds, West’s hand covering his eyes as his face scrunches, trying to piece together the jumbled puzzle, “they spoke like they knew they’re alive.”
“Alright, so- if the dead girls aren’t dead, where are they?” Montes inquires, Jared’s pause draining him of a hopeful high, his answers having been offered in quick succession prior. “I don’t know, but I’d imagine it’s somewhere close to where the plane went down” Jared replies, his lips pressing together as he stares off, “somewhere out in the Indian Ocean, I guess.”
“They were headed to the Maldives- that’s where their plane was flying to” West interrupts, pulling his head from the palm of his hand. “Hold on, how do they know the girls are alive?” Montes queries, sharing a glance between Jared and West whilst the question lingers. Reluctant, Jared considers his options for a moment before turning to Rachel, looking her in the eyes as he speaks softly.
“I’m gonna talk to the officers for a minute” the young man murmurs, “you just stay here and I’ll be right back, alright?” Without a word, Rachel nods to the man, releasing his hand as he backs away, walking off with the men in search of privacy. “You guys saw the thing Lincoln did, right?” Jared inquires, dipping into an unoccupied corner and lowering his voice, “well, I think the girl- Suzie- I think she could do it too. He said she did something to the plane and she didn’t deny it.”
“She’s- what?- she’s a terrorist?” West responds, his face tightened as he rests against the nearest wall, still supporting himself with the metal cane. “I- maybe? I don’t know what she’s after, but I know she wants this Lincoln guy dead” Jared whispers, opening his mouth to continue without doing so. “What?” Montes wonders aloud, the man’s lips moving nervously without making any words, “you’re not actually speaking.”
Closing his eyes with a sigh, Jared licks his teeth and shares a look with the officers, speaking quieter than before. “Whatever Lincoln and Suzie are-” Jared begins, unable to speak the second half before Montes finishes his sentence, already predicting where the dialogue has begun heading, “-you think girls are the same thing.”
Closing his eyes, Jared nods emphatically, a new wrinkle added into the officers’ case. “Hold on, you don’t really-” West begins to interject, finally reaching a moment where his original disbelief returns, only for his eyes to widen as a thought arises. “Rookie, pull up your phone” West directs, a brief second of confusion passing before Montes does as told, following the directions West reads to him before reaching his browser.
“Type in ‘Praireville building explosion’” West orders, following the officer’s thumbs with his eyes, each letter bubble growing in size as it’s pressed. “Go to ‘images’ and scroll until I tell you to stop” West orders, the process of Montes following his instructions repeating as West’s eyes catch the photo in question. “That! Those are the girls!” West exclaims, fighting through the pain to speak.
“Yeah, this picture went around everywhere. It’s why them killing the cop was so covered” Montes responds, watching West’s head shake assuredly. “Yes, but the bust just before they left! That was different!” West exclaims, again beginning to lose the younger men he speaks to. “Before they left, they traded me intel on a drug bust in the outskirts of town” West confesses, “they told me to say they were dealt with and take the drug siege in exchange for their freedom.”
“What do either of those have to do with what I just told you?” Jared inquires, his question prompting West to calm himself, speaking clearly and coherently. “They must have known about that explosion just like the bust. They knew, they knew, they knew it was going to happen” West remarks, “so they know about these two things, they become the target of some mutant serial killer, I mean- they’re the only survivors of a fucking plane crash! There must be something to this!”
“So you think it’s more of an answer than a theory?” Jared replies, his eyes narrowing as West goes to walk off, “you think what I’m saying is true?” Limping through the exam room, West approaches the curtain Rachel has been left behind, looking at Jared from over his shoulder as he steps forward. “I think we need to figure out where those girls are” West replies, taking the curtain into his hand before yanking it open.
“Surprise” Lincoln remarks, sat on the hospital cot where Rachel was last left, his legs crossed at the ankles, hands folded in his lap. Reaching for his gun on instinct, Montes’ aim is thwarted by the sudden gust of wind emptied from his lungs, the firearm sliding across the ground as it falls from his hands. “I knew the first place you’d go was the hospital” Lincoln mocks, stepping off the bed as West and Jared back away, matching his approach forward with one step back.
“Where’s Rachel!?” Jared worriedly asks, watching Lincoln’s smile only continue to grow, his eyes beginning to glow blue as he approaches. “She’s right back where you’ll be in just a moment” Lincoln replies, his insinuation failing to strike fear in the young man. Desperate for each breath, Montes rolls on the ground, his eyes staring directly into the ceiling above, its tiles beginning to fall apart.
“It’s like I said, Jared- the two of you are pawns. The longer you act like this, the more this game gets prolonged” Lincoln remarks, his smile having grown to such width that he now speaks through gritted teeth. “If you hurt her, I swear to-” Jared begins to warn, his response disallowed from continuing, Lincoln’s interruption foiling him.
“Kill me, hurt me, make me suffer?- whatever it is, you’ve said it before” Lincoln replies, extending his hand toward the second of his targets, slowly reaching out for his shirt collar. Mustering the strength to reclaim his gun, Montes turns to the confrontation happening away from him, Lincoln’s attempts at grabbing the young man striking him as unusual.
Reclaiming his breaths, Montes holsters his firearm and pushes himself upward, fighting toward the altercation just as Lincoln gets too close for his welcome. With a grunt, Montes watches Lincoln’s finger slip into the sleeve of Jared’s shirt, the young man’s efforts to retreat further proving unproductive.
Leaving his feet, Montes throws himself through the air, his hand just grazing Lincoln’s shoulder as the man snaps his free hand. The lone figure uninvolved, West watches Lincoln vanish into thin air, both Jared and Montes, disappearing alongside him. The events having unfolded with such swiftness, West falls backward, losing his balance mid-retreat as the air grows thin, the room’s emptiness yet to feel as truly barren as it does whilst he collides with the ground.
\ Realm of Reality /
Their home adorned with more furnishings than before, Scarlett and Vic occupy separate chairs across the room from each other, each girl watching the other quietly, neither wanting to speak first. Their silence amplified by the sound of rushing waves passing their patio, both girls continue to stare at the other, each trying to overwhelm their urge to speak.
The tip of her shoe tapping against the floor, Scarlett fills the room with a subtle obstruction, trying to spur Vic into addressing the elephant in the room. Without a sound, Vic looks at Scarlett, staring her in the eyes as she shakes her head, lips pressed firmly together. “Fine, whatever. Can we talk about this Suzie-Lincoln shit!?” Scarlett shouts, officially the first to break.
Silent, Vic continues not to speak, adjusting her position in the chair as she crosses one leg over the other, her hand held against the knee. “They’re playing a cat and mouse game with each other and us!?” Scarlett exclaims, continuing to speak whilst Vic looks at her quietly, continuing to retain her composure. “It’s like a multi-dimensional game of fucked-up chess and we’re the centre of it!” Scarlett exclaims, her head falling to the side as her eyes wander aimlessly, “please say something.”
Arching the corner of her mouth, Vic stares off, her thoughts too frazzled to piece together seamlessly. “Scar, if the realm’s already decided what’s gonna happen-” Vic begins, her eyes tracing the swirls in their wooden floor’s finishing, her sentence left unfinished. “If the realm’s already decided- what?” Scarlett repeats, again leaving the sentence open-ended, Vic’s head continuing to shake as she looks up, a sour face worn.
“What’s the point of fighting it then?” Vic qualms, the answer one that equally angers and disappoints the other woman. “What the fuck do you mean by that?” Scarlett responds, watching Vic sift through her own head from a place of slight offence. “I’m saying there’s no point in driving ourselves mad over shit we can’t change” Vic responds, lifting a stack of money off a nearby table as the knock they’d been waiting for arrives.
“What’s the most pressing thing that we know? That there are two people that wanna kill us because they had what we do” Vic continues, opening the door as she finishes her thought, “if that’s what they want, I’ll return the fight happily.”
“Uh? Vic!” Scarlett shouts, able to see the visitor knocking at their door before the villa’s owner has the chance to herself. Eyes guided toward the person just beyond her door, Vic’s eyes widen with shock and awe, the man that stands before her practically a ghost as far as her memory reaches.
“We have a massive problem” Sheriff West remarks, his eyes slightly empty, his breaths spaced apart. “What are you doing here!?” Scarlett angrily inquires, quickly storming up to Vic’s side, prepared for a fight West has no intentions of starting. “Rachel and Jared are missing and Lincoln did it” West replies, offering too much information for the girls to digest in one sitting.
“I- I- I know about your powers” West confesses, the girls’ eyes widening even further, “Jared said Lincoln was gonna use them to kill you and- and I- I don’t know how. But they’re- they’re in trouble and I need your help.”
Unable to wipe away the looks of sheer terror on each other’s faces, Vic and Scarlett turn to each other and lock eyes, trying to read the other’s reaction to no avail, their efforts at looking to the other for comfort in a moment where all composure is lost proving futile. Logically lost, Scarlett and Vic return their gaze upon West’s broken body, unsure of how to respond or react, instead standing there with horrified expressions, only able to react on instinct.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“But you know why I thought this was a bad idea, right?” Scarlett wonders aloud, Vic purposefully choosing to follow closely behind her. “I do and I don’t care” Vic replies, their destination soon approaching, “if the realm wants to badger us into killing each other, nothing we can do will stop it from getting its way. It knows what it wants, and it’ll find a way to get it.”
“That doesn’t mean we just walk right into its traps” Scarlett swiftly calls back, a slight anxiety at the prospect of reentering the all-encompassing, bannister-less mezzanine. “I’m sure the realm itself is as much of a trap as this is” Vic replies, following the young blonde ahead of her up a short set of stone steps.
“Then why are we here?” Scarlett replies, turning around with an eager look on her face, Vic stopping just as she does, “why are we doing this at all?” Her head leaning to the left, Vic puts her hand on Scarlett’s chest and gently moves her aside, “we have to sleep at some point” she remarks, strolling past Scarlett on her way to the chambers’ floor. Sighing, Scarlett bows her head and follows after Vic, not wanting to let the girl get too far out of sight.
As a few minutes pass, Vic continues to follow her path from the last visit, entering offices perfectly duplicated from the ones she’d entered previously. “Lead me to what you brought me here for!” Vic exclaims, Scarlett still following closely behind, her eyes briefly glancing at the chasm between the massive stretches of space.
“All hail the king” a voice whispers, catching Scarlett’s ear just as the girl spins around arduously, unaware of her eyes taking on a luminescent red glow. “Who’s there!?” Scarlett shouts, knowing the voice to have called out from behind her, though unable to find anything, not a figure or a face upon her whirl. “Vic, did you hear that!?” Scarlett inquires, keeping her service weapon aimed toward the sound, her question unanswered, “Vic!?”
Unwilling to spend more than a moment glancing back, Scarlett discovers the space ahead of her to be empty, the girl that had once chosen to follow her now having broken too far ahead. “Shit” Scarlett grunts, looking back to the space behind her to find it as empty as she’d seen it to be, giving her the confidence to hurry off in search for her friend. “Vic!” Scarlett exclaims, her weapon readied for war as she shuffles past empty workspaces, still receiving no answer.
“Vic, where the fuck are you!?” Scarlett shouts, her efforts thus far failing enough to warrant taking more drastic measures. With a growl, Scarlett lifts the weapon to her head and pulls the trigger, returning her to the realm above and awake from her slumber.
\ Realm of Reality /
“This is gonna make me look really petty” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, climbing off her couch and storming through the parlour, the glass patio entrance already open. “Sorry, Vic” Scarlett huffs, pulling in a deep breath before slapping her friend awake, the woman throwing her arms up for protection as her eyes open, the effort to do so pushing her off the patio seat.
“What the hell!?” Vic exclaims, gathering her wits after a few moments, realising that she’d been struck out of her slumber. “I’m sorry- I had to!” Scarlett shouts, defending her actions before lifting the obvious question, “where did you go!?” Wiping the side of her face, Vic lets the question linger, her brain still needing a moment to adjust. “What do you mean?” Vic replies, almost as if she were completely unaware of what had happened minutes prior.
“You just left! I was following you, then I heard something, and when I turned back, you were gone” Scarlett responds, detailing the events as if they were bullet points. “No, you just walked off” Vic retorts, crawling to the railing and taking a seat against it, her arms wrapped around her bent knees. “No, you walked off” Scarlett counters, yet again met with the same refusal as before.
“You just disappeared, Scar. I was telling the realm to show me what it wanted to, then you vanished” Vic replies, a story entirely opposite to that of what Scarlett paints. “And then you just kept walking off, right?” Scarlett interjects, trying to correct her story with information that doesn’t truly fit, her attempts again thwarted. “No, I turned around and started calling for you” Vic replies, her answer prompting Scarlett to turn away shaking her head.
“No. No, that’s not what happened” Scarlett replies, adamant in what she’d seen and how the events played out. “Yeah, it is” Vic replies, her friend turning away with her hands on her hips, beginning to walk to the opposite end of the patio. “Why is what I’m saying so hard to believe?” Vic inquires, pulling herself up with the aid of the bannister before walking after Scarlett, subconsciously uncomfortable with the woman’s departure.
“Because this isn’t a good sign, Vic!” Scarlett shouts, a single porch light brightening their shared walkway as she turns back. “All of this throne talk, and the king shit, and literally taking each other by the throats!” Scarlett mentions, none of what’s listed being largely easy to ignore in her eyes. “I’m worried about what’s happening. I know we can’t actually kill each other in there, but it just feels like the realm’s pitting us again each other” Scarlett concludes, “I don’t like it.”
“I don’t like it either, Scar. Believe it or not, I’m not too interested in killing you” Vic replies, tacking a slight amount of humour on the end to ease tension. “There are just so many unknowns. Even if it’s throwing some heavy shit at us, we need to try to work with the realm” Vic furthers, meeting Scarlett in the patio’s centre.
“I know it’s freaky, and maybe even downright fucked up- but we’re in there for a reason” Vic remarks, resting her hand on Scarlett’s shoulder, “we’re not gonna find the answer out here.” Frowning, Scarlett gives Vic a nod and returns to the home’s interior. “I still think I’m gonna stay up the rest of the night” Scarlett murmurs, Vic more than understanding of the need to consider what’s been said.
“You know where I’ll be” Vic replies, sliding the patio doors together to cut herself off from the home, the light overhead offering a fair amount of light. Watching Scarlett round a corner and walk off, Vic’s compassionate expression falls to one of worry, the muscles in her face tightening as she lowers the fingers on her right hand into her pocket.
As if she knows what she’s doing is wrong, Vic slides her hand free carefully, a folded polaroid tucked between the spaces in her middle and ring fingers. Close enough to the glass panes to fog them with her breath, Vic lets free a sigh as she opens the picture, an old and discoloured photograph of a small family presented upon its unfolding.
“What are the two of you hiding?” Vic mutters beneath her breath, staring intently into the picture as she lifts it toward the porch light. Off to the side of the gathered relatives, Suzie and Lincoln stand by each other’s side, dressed in attire reminiscent of 1940’s America. In her eyes, the world that surrounds the photograph begins to grow dark, its colour fading just as the photo does, their appearance one in the same.
Within a moment, Vic and the portrait vanish, not a hair left behind to suggest they’d ever been there in the first place. The only sound that passes being the tide that rolls past the stilts their house stands upon, the patio sits vacant, a few more seconds passing before the light that cascades upon it powers down, no motion to trigger it.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
“Give the knocking a rest, I’m coming!” Montes shouts, his presence called for by a set of repeated, endless knocks. His hand flipping the locks, Montes yanks his front door inward, his expectation to find an impatient snob stood before him somewhat coming to fruition. “Sheriff West” Montes remarks, his superior waiting on the front patio of his small, trailer-sized home, his right hand pressing down upon the cane’s handle.
“Would I be allowed to come in for a minute if I promise not to fire you?” West inquires, though speaking with a sarcastic tone, his question appears genuine. Biting his tongue, Montes nods, stepping aside to grant the man entry, the space he sits inside of leaving much to be desired. “This is a nice little- thing” West murmurs, making his best attempts at humour as he turns back, “where’s the rest of it?”
Still angry, Montes passes the sheriff, discarding West’s visit and joke by occupying the nearest seat, folding his hands atop his lap. “Did you come here for something?” Montes wonders aloud, his usual eagerness to impress the sheriff surprisingly non-existent, treating the man as an equal for the first time under his employment. “Yes” West responds with a deep breath, beginning to recognise that his drop in has not been received as well as he’d anticipated.
“I figured I owed you an explanation” the sheriff continues, approaching a couch one coffee table’s length away, “I should tell you why I’m not going to evidence.” His demeanour unchanged, Montes remains in his seat, patiently waiting for the story he assumes West has crafted.
“If this goes into evidence, it won’t be mine for long” West clarifies, settling into his seat whilst masking the pain as best possible, “the moment what’s on this tape is seen by people other than us, this place will be swarming with the feds.”
“Why is that a bad thing?” Montes interrupts, his eyelids pressing closer together, “we’ve gotten on this guy since day one, what makes you think this should still even be our case right now?” His lips joining together, West looks to Montes without an answer at first, his default response the best he can manage in a moment of improvisation. “We’re gonna get the guy on the something” West replies, his solution failing to do anything more than earn an eye roll.
“Yeah, keep saying that- I’m sure he’ll run out of people to butcher eventually” Montes replies, beginning to push himself out of his chair. “Rookie, what did I tell you I saw in the hospital!? What did you go out to the car to prove? Huh, what was it?” West shouts, stopping the younger man from leaving his seat any further, “when we see this tape, you’ll see it too. Imagine what’s gonna happen when the federal government sees it.”
“They’d at least have the tools to track him down, maybe put a stop to this before it gets any worse” Montes answers, West’s head immediately shaking at such a suggestion. “No, they won’t. Think about what this country does to keep their interests intact, what lows they’ll stoop to-” West urges, the fear of such calamity almost bringing a smile over his face, “-imagine what they’d sweep under the rug to reverse engineer some superhuman thug from Praireville, Louisiana.”
“Why do I care what happens to a murderer?” Montes quickly retorts, his answer given with the same ease. “Because you’ve got a problem with me sweeping an assault under the rug to keep our reputation in line, just think about what the government would do” West replies, placing the cruiser’s camera onto the coffee table just between them, “for all we know, you might just be giving them the next atomic bomb.”
Silent, Montes looks into West’s face, his own hands still resting against the sides of his seat, prepared to stand up and leave if he truly wanted to. “You’re just trying to defend yourself” Montes responds, taking a brief moment to consider the reason behind West’s visit, “you’re already gonna overrule me in evidence and you want me to think you have a good reason.”
His head shaking once more, West looks back to the camera, his index and middle fingers guiding the small box across the wooden surface. “I’ve got every reason not to want the public knowing that there’s a serial killer with super powers walking the streets because we can’t catch him” West confesses, situating the recorder just a few centimetres away from the novice deputy, “it’d be the end of our precinct and myself. For that reason, I’m not gonna make the decision.”
Confused, Montes finally leans back into his seat, removing his hands from the armrests he’d used to support his initial attempt at departure. “You’re probably the only person with a badge in my unit that would have believed me” West continues, watching Montes’ face lift toward his own, looking him in the eyes as he speaks, “if there’s anyone that I owe the honour of making this choice, it’d be you.”
“You know I want it in evidence. Why give me the choice if you know what my intentions are?” Montes queries, the story not adding up as far as he’s concerned. “Because you’re right. We haven’t caught this guy yet, and I can only tell you we’re trying” West replies, promising to let the decision be left in the hands of someone else, “it may be the right decision for all I know, but I can’t make it. It may be fucked up, but my job is to uphold the integrity of the unit first and foremost.”
Quiet, Montes looks back to the camera, its lens aimed directly toward him, almost like an eye watching anxiously for his decision. “I don’t like what happened to those girls, but I don’t regret it. You let the world know you harboured a predator and good luck convincing the public that you’re looking out for them” West chuckles, coping with the uneasiness that burns deep within him through humour, “You’ve got the stones that I don’t for this, I just wanted you to understand both sides first.”
Looking back to West, Montes remains quiet, trying to read the sheriff’s expression for any ill-intent that may hide behind his worried grin.
\ Paradox /
The road she walks down comprised of little more than flat gravel, Vic walks through the blistering sun in little more than a white tank top and loose shorts. Following a long, wooden fence seemingly crafted by hand, the girl catches sight of a large, multi-family home just in the distance. Recognising the exterior, though its colours appear much more bold and bountiful, Vic sets her travels on the destination ahead, an audible crunch emerging beneath every step she takes.
Eventually reaching her destination, Vic stops at a small, person-sized gap in the fence, a mailbox standing beside her whilst a newspaper lays at her feet. Dropping to her knee, Vic stares toward the paper’s header, ‘June 20th, 1941’ the black lettering reads, prompting the girl to stare back toward the large home just ahead. “Picture time!” a young girl blurts out, the first to emerge from within the home, her arms thrown toward the sky as she sprints into the yard.
“Mary, don’t you go dirtying your dress!” a second woman calls out, speed walking toward the enthusiastic child whilst holding up the puffy skirt to her dress. “You can’t be much older than me” Vic murmurs beneath her breath, a young man of seemingly equal age soon to follow, aiding the young woman in racing after the child.
“I’d buy the little rascal if I were you!” a second woman remarks, the cap just over her head unable to mask the familiarity of her voice or face from Vic’s mind. “Don’t tell them how to parent their child, Suzannah. You’ll have your chance just as they do” an older and taller man with grey hair and black skin replies, a number of other, equally random faces following behind him.
In no specific order, black and white men and women, all differing in age and appearance spill out from the home. “This is a lot less racist than I was worried it’d be” Vic jokes beneath her breath, continuing to stare from the home’s front porch. “Peter, please don’t stain your clothes!” a second voice exclaims, equally familiar to Vic as Suzie’s was as he exits the home, amongst the last few to do so.
“Leave him be, Christopher” an older woman replies, laying her hand upon the man’s shoulder to comfort him. “Christopher?” Vic repeats beneath her breath, watching the last few relatives trickle onto the front lawn in preparation. “Christoper, stand next to me!” Suzie exclaims, other members of the combined families mixing together, coming into one diverse, expansive lot.
Having coupled her hands together, Vic quickly pulls them apart, taking two steps past the entrance having expected time to stop. Unaffected, the family continues to bunch together, staring into the camera just a few metres ahead with steady faces, not a smile to offer, nor a look of dissatisfaction to present. Confused, Vic looks to her hands quietly, hearing the cameraman snap the portrait undisturbed, the moment in the photo having now occurred.
A realisation dawning over her, Vic extends her hand toward the grounded newspaper, trying to lift the bundle of articles into the air with no luck, her abilities inconveniently non-existent. Watching the family disperse, Vic sets her eyes upon a boy no older than six years old, sneaking through uncut grass to reach him. “Hey, kid” Vic whispers, watching the boy pick at the pedals of a flower as she kneels before him, “hey!”
Her call for the boy’s attention unanswered, Vic reaches for his shirt sleeve, attempting to tug at the loose cloth that falls from his arm. “Hey, ki-!” Vic grunts again, her hand passing not only through the cotton of the young boy’s shirt, but his arm entirely, reaching the opposite side with no effect. “Peter, come in for lunch!” the man she knows to be Lincoln exclaims, ushering the boy unknowingly stood beside Vic through the front door.
More confused than she was a moment prior, Vic lifts herself off the ground, watching the boy hurry off as Lincoln watches, unable to miss Vic from where he stands. Expecting to be discovered, Vic watches Lincoln step aside, allowing Peter to pass before joining him inside, completely disregarding Vic’s presence as if she had none.
Her mouth slightly ajar, Vic takes a second look around the yard, a tree with a tire swing and a large garden just half a kilometre away all the land has to offer beside the home itself. Able to feel the summer heat graze her pale skin, Vic throws her hands outward, a ghost to a world sentenced to the history books by her era.
Speechless, Vic stares down the road she’d travelled to reach the home, a perfect view of what lies ahead from the incline she stands atop of. In the near distance, Vic notices a figure dressed in all black clothing, its pose aimed directly opposite her own. Lifting one hand into the air, the figure makes a gesture in Vic’s direction and vanishes, the colour of the home and accompanying yard beginning to fade along with her.
Replacing the bright, mid-day sun, the moonlight shines over the Arabian Sea as Vic returns from her travels, the suddenness of how she’d been escorted from the pass bringing with it a brief struggle. Suddenly touching upon her hardwood patio, Vic stumbles backward, tumbling into the bannister before sliding to the ground, exiting her paradox with as many questions as she’d entered with.
\ Realm of Reality /
“What are you doing here?” Lincoln inquires, an obviously defensive tone in his voice, the gesture on which amuses the woman across from him. “Please, I could ask you the same thing” Suzie replies, her lip curling as the smile on her face is replaced by a grimace, “you’re supposed to be dead, brother.”
“And you’re supposed to be ruling the realm beyond” Lincoln quickly retorts, a quick glance given toward Razul and Kazro, unintimidated by their silence. “Then I guess we both have some things to explain” Suzie replies, summoning a bright, burning red blade from thin air. “I’ll ask you again, Suzie” Lincoln remarks, his own dagger readied, “what are you doing here?”
“I found out I had company in the realm above” Suzie responds, yet to move a muscle in her brother’s direction, reluctant to pursue war without intel. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t take you for the child-type” Suzie reiterates, gesturing to the puzzled and tortured teens with her chin. “They’re my pawns” Lincoln replies, watching Suzie’s eyes narrow from intrigue, “they’ll set me up to take the king.”
Humoured by the answer, Suzie lets a laugh escape her lungs, lowering her blade for the slightest moment. Offered an opening, Lincoln lunges forward, directing his blade at Suzie’s chest unsuccessfully, her moment of weakness proving to be for show as she leaps aside, dodging his blow. “Of course you think that shit would work” Suzie grunts, her dagger prepared once more.
“What do you mean by that?” Lincoln inquires, yet again subjected to being the source of Suzie’s laughter. “You go through all these hoops and jumps for the dumbest reasons” Suzie remarks, the pair beginning to circle the room, each daring the other to jump first. “Leave it to little miss impatience to just jump into things without a plan” Lincoln replies, his mockery only further amusing the woman.
“Oh, I have a plan” Suzie replies, hunching toward the ground as their circle proceeds. “I kill you, then I kill the girls, then I take what’s mine” Suzie comments, now becoming the one responsible for making Lincoln laugh, “all you’ve gotta know is the line of descent, brother.”
“So, all you’re interested in is the girls outliving me- I see” Lincoln replies, his eyes pressing closer together, “why drug them on the plane then?”
“I didn’t know you were still around until they made it to the beach” Suzie replies, stopping the circle as she shrugs, “I also didn’t know the plane was the last tragedy. I figured they’d passed that part by then.”
“I see. We have our chess board set up according to plan, and now we’re all waiting for someone to make the first move” Lincoln replies, a sudden wave of electricity coursing through his blade, “I guess we’d better start the game.”
“Razul, Kazro- let me finish this” Suzie orders, allowing the brutes to return themselves to the realm beyond, only the siblings left to settle the differences they’d created. “Are you gonna try to stab me in the back again?” Lincoln inquires, watching Jared hurry across the room, shielding Rachel behind himself. “Mortals” Lincoln scoffs, taking his eye off the ball for just a moment as he shakes his head, a genuine opening handed to Suzie on a silver platter.
Swiping at the man’s chest, Suzie draws Lincoln’s focus back onto the fight, the room illuminated in vibrant red and blue colours, following the sibling that displays them. “We used to make such a good team, Suzie” Lincoln grunts, his eyes turning a solid blue as he steps forward, “we could’ve done great things!”
His blade barely grazing her shoulder, Lincoln misses his second shot, the woman responding as he’d expect. “One of us needed to die, Lincoln- I wasn’t going to let it be me” Suzie responds, dodging a second, more surprising attack as Lincoln lunges forward, taking the opportunity to make a second gash in the man’s chest. “Ah, you bitch!” Lincoln exclaims, his eyes and dagger briefly turning red in a moment of anger, soon fading back to blue, “how’d you even make it out of purgatory!?”
“Nice try, Christopher” Suzie mocks, slashing at his wrist as he makes a third attempt at her, failing just as he had the prior two times. “You’ll be heading there soon enough anyway” Suzie remarks, the man standing before the exit in a fit of rage, “I’m not giving you a way out.”
His angered expression soon turning to horror, Lincoln’s tunnel vision subsides, the vibrant blue in his eyes fading as he looks to Rachel’s bed, his prisoners absent. Taking her eye off the goal, Suzie peers toward the bed with a smile, the red in her eyes fading all the same. “Hahaha! Look at that!” Suzie exclaims, watching Lincoln frantically pan around the room, fearing the worst.
“Fuck it, I can’t kill you now!” Suzie exclaims, releasing her dagger to the realm its originated from, replacing her hold on its handle with a wave of her hand, “I wanna see what happens next!” Basking in Lincoln’s troubles, Suzie snaps her fingers together, vanishing into thin air just as her mercenaries had. His adrenaline subsiding, Lincoln clutches at his chest as he makes a break for the bunker’s exit, ascending to ground level in a panicked haze.
“No, no no no no no no no” Lincoln whispers, hands pressing against each side of his head, not a sight of either teen. Only able to follow the footprints left in the grass until he reaches the parkway, Lincoln’s brief trail runs cold, the teenagers having slipped from his grasp just as the realm itself once had.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“I’m not doing it maliciously!” Scarlett responds, defending her actions to the spiritual guidance beside her, Esotera accompanying the young girl toward the epicentre of their first shared delusion. “Your intentions don’t need to be malicious in order for what you’re doing to be malicious” Esotera replies, her pace matched with Scarlett, “the realm clearly brought you in together for a reason. Now you’re disobeying it.”
“I’m focusing on the mission. That’s what I’m doing” Scarlett sharpley retorts, her voice raised a level as her newly-golden locks fall over her jean jacket-clad shoulders. “You can’t do that with Vic?” Esotera inquires, the question met with slight hostility as Scarlett begins to feel pressured. “Last time we shared a delusion, I nearly strangled her to death” Scarlett quickly replies, continuing to speak as a wandering feral ghoul nears.
“I think it’s best that we spend as little time here together as possible” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, shattering a nearby wall with the wave of her hand before collecting the chunks of stone that fall from it. “I’d really like to not kill Vic, is that too hard to ask?” Scarlett wonders aloud, throwing the stone through the ghouls head via her telekinesis.
“Neither of us would know that answer, would we?” Esotera responds, Scarlett’s momentary pause allowing her to utter more than one uninterrupted sentence. “I can tell you what does or doesn’t exist, but I’m not a mind reader” Esotera continues, stopping as they arrive near their destination’s entrance, “like Suzie said- the realm is a living entity all of its own- you can think what you wish, but I think it’d be best if you didn’t find yourself fallen out of its favour.”
Shaking her head, Scarlett attempts to dissuade Esotera’s thoughts from rooting themselves in pessimism, the realm’s compass not allowing her the opportunity. “Do you think you’d be here right now if the realm didn’t have the ability to choose who it wanted here?” Esotera queries, interrupting Scarlett before the girl has the chance to alleviate concerns, “no- you wouldn’t be. I’m sure you’re not the first, but you might just be the last. Playing games like this won’t help that.”
Looking Esotera in the eyes for a few further seconds before bowing her head, Scarlett lets the woman’s proclamation sink in, sitting with it quietly for a moment. “Take care of yourself, kid” Esotera remarks, watching Scarlett’s still-hanging head nod, appreciative of both the advice and well wishes. Left to her own vices as Esotera steps through thin air to return home, Scarlett’s head swivels toward the steps that climb toward where she believes answers lie.
With a deep sigh, Scarlett accepts the deal she’s been seated at the table having prepared, choosing to go through with sleeping on the bed she’d taken it upon herself to make. Climbing the stone steps, Scarlett enters the chamber sized to monolithic proportions less hurried on her second go-around, allowed to inspect the impossibly deep chasm at its centre just as she can the bonsai tree that grows through it, occupying the chronicle in all its magnitude.
“Show me to-” Scarlett begins to order, her thought silenced by the growl yet another feral ghoul, its grey, decrepit skin harnessing a bright red glow where its stomach would otherwise be. Positioning herself for a fight, Scarlett waits for the trapped soul to proceed forward, the back of her foot pressing into the floor just a few centimetres away from the bannister-less descent into pitch black uncertainty.
Its head tilting to the side, the ghoul steps forward calmly, the sprint Scarlett had expected it to break into apparently a concept the ghoul refuses to abide by. Confused, Scarlett watches the ghoul step forward, approaching the drop she stands before with little intention of fighting. “What are you doing?” Scarlett asks out of instinct, watching the ghoul stare at her as it approaches the drop.
“All hail the king” the ghoul replies in the tone of a muffled screech, stepping past Scarlett and walking over the edge, plunging into the infinite drop the bonsai tree’s roots assumedly reside. Pulling away from the abyss, Scarlett’s confused expression turns into a look of fear, the worry Esotera had voiced earlier suddenly finding its way to her.
“This isn’t real” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, her lips as close together as possible without touching entirely, “this isn’t real” she repeats. Without warning, a second ghoul tumbles over the edge of a higher level, zipping past Scarlett’s periphery mid-sentence. “All hail the king” the ghoul remarks, its final two words slowly fading off as the pit’s darkest, deepest, and most dubious secrets await.
“No, I’m not seeing this” Scarlett reiterates, temporarily bereft of her ability to speak as the second body falls, trying hard to defend against what she is convinced are delusions of grandeur. “All hail the king!” a third ghoul exclaims, sending themselves into the infinite pit from a lower level, Scarlett unable to even take surprise in its collapse.
“All hail the king!” a fourth ghoul exclaims, yet again throwing itself into the crater from a floor above, zipping past Scarlett as a fifth quickly follows his lead, the same chant repeated. “This isn’t real- I’m no king” Scarlett mumbles, again beneath her breath, her face shaking as she steps back, reluctant to continue watching despite forcing herself to.
“I’m not your king, I’m not your king, I’m not your king” Scarlett persists, almost humming her refusal as she continues to step back, silently pleading for the suicidal dives to cease. “I’m not your king, I’m not your fucking king” Scarlett denies, half-heartedly expecting another body to drop, a subconscious expectation that her refusals would be met with undeniable evidence to the contrary held deep within her mind.
Gone silent, Scarlett’s breaths space themselves by the second, an inhale lasting one second just as the exhale that succeeds it, countless breaths taken without another ghoul passing by. “I’m not your goddamn king, take that bullshit somewhere else you fucks” Scarlett grumbles, her nostrils flaring as the retreat ceases, the lack of leaping, featureless carcasses providing her with a sense of security, however misplaced it may be.
Though sceptical, Scarlett holds out hope that her tactics proved successful, rooting through the realm’s facade and returning herself to its closest truth. Little other way to prove her strategy’s effectiveness, Scarlett begins her return to the hollow ahead, the lack of footsteps or chants as she grows closer allows optimism to slowly return. “I’m not your king” Scarlett repeats, not wishing to allow the delusion any return in the event her plan had, indeed, worked, “I’m not-”.
“All hail the king!” the chant suddenly intensifies, bellowed from the cores of feral ghouls in the thousands, all swan-diving into the void below in unison, trapped souls falling like raindrops in a thunderstorm. Watching souls zoom past in quick succession, tens of ghouls jumping to their deaths just beyond her floor’s edge, Scarlett throws herself backward, falling to the ground in a state of sheer terror.
“No! This isn’t real!” Scarlett growls, crawling further away from the floor’s boundary before running into an obstruction, one she knows had not been there moments prior. Her eyes widened, Scarlett goes quiet, turning her body around to face the being that resides behind her. “All hail the king” the woman from the carnival whispers, not even lips to border the toothless mouth she speaks through, her head directed toward the young woman’s face.
“You’re not real!” Scarlett shouts, suddenly jolted from her confrontation as she throws herself off the couch, impact with their Maldives floor having never been more welcomed. Her look of relief soon declining into a look of pain, Scarlett holds the side of her face as a bright red handprint forms. “Ow!” Scarlett groans, looking up to find Vic standing over her, all too pleased to have an excuse for slapping her friend, “that was unnecessary!”
“Yeah, so was that rah-rah speech you fed me a few minutes ago” Vic replies, tossing a brown paper bag onto the floor as she steals Scarlett’s spot on the sofa, “what happened to ‘we need a plan’?”
“I got sleepy” Scarlett moans, sitting up on the floor whilst rubbing her hand in circles, the inside of her gums squeezing through her molar teeth. “Yeah, I definitely buy that” Vic sarcastically responds, clearly unconvinced at her friend’s response. “Good, ‘cause that’s the truth” Scarlett doubles down, pushing herself off the ground before taking the paper bag, leading it and the groceries within to the kitchen.
Watching Scarlett venture off, Vic’s face scrunches, suspicious of the young woman’s intentions and means of finishing her assignment. Letting loose a heavy breath, Vic settles into her seat with uncertain thoughts, unsure of how to feel about Scarlett’s secrets, let alone how to react.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
“Just don’t fuck with anything, alright?” an unnamed, unimportant officer warns, granting Montes entry to an underground garage where the station’s stockpile of cruisers reside. “I’ll try my best” Montes responds, making an attempt at humour that the officer doesn’t respond to, instead shaking his head as he shows himself out.
The unimpressed reaction becoming common for him, Montes brushes the interaction aside, directing his attention back toward the car-filled lot. His eye kept out for the tan Caprice he knows the sheriff to fancy, Montes begins his search, a large number of spots vacated by units already on patrol. “Get out of here, Benny!” West shouts, pushing past the officer who’d allowed Montes to pass.
“Sheriff, what-?” Montes begins to inquire, watching as his superior struggles to move forward, dragging himself through the lot’s smooth, concrete ground with a cane and a limp. “Don’t even think about telling me to ‘go home and get some rest’” West interrupts, each strenuous movement causing him to wince in pain, “-I’ll fire you on the spot.”
Accepting the ultimatum waged, Montes nods at West, attempting to step past the man, “I’ll leave you to it then” he proclaims, his departure halted by the shaft of West’s cane. “Not so fast, rookie” West grunts, his handheld support pressing into Montes’ chest before he can pull away from West’s reach, “what’re you down here looking for?”
Hanging his head, Montes refuses to make an attempt at putting on a poker face, immediately responding with guilt to West’s question. Though able to recognise Montes’ disappointment, West struggles to gage its reasoning, lowering his head to look Montes in the eye.
“I wanted to get into your cruiser” Montes confesses, the lack of context for the moment somehow making West more curious, “I wanted to see if what you were telling-” Without needing to hear Montes’ conclusion, West pulls back, interrupting the deputy before the reasoning can be offered.
“You didn’t believe me, did you?” West responds, having begun to draw his own conclusion, though second thoughts emerge once Montes’ poor reaction to the claim follow. “No! It’s not that I didn’t believe you!” Montes urges, the truth behind his explanation once more intriguing the sheriff, “I just don’t want to be the guy that buys into the crazy story and gets laughed at for being gullible.”
Though the answer to his question has been given, West remains silent, allowing Montes to continue speaking until the thoughts have been fully flushed from his mind. “I never made it in college, I wasn’t popular in high school, and up until now- I didn’t have a purpose in life” Montes concedes, grating West a look into his life behind the badge, “I’ve been made to feel like an idiot more times than I can count, and- and I guess I want this to be the one place where I’m not the fool.”
His allure to the man’s elucidation subsiding, West looks to Montes somewhat apologetically, somewhat appreciative of the willingness to believe West’s claim. “You coming down here to know for sure means there was at least some part of you that didn’t write me off” West admits, watching Montes’ face take back toward his own, “a lot of the guys here, especially the snotty pricks, wouldn’t have my back that much.”
Still disheartened, Montes flashes West a smile and nod, his quiet way of thanking him for the kind words as he returns to the station’s interior. “Where are you going?” West calls back, allowing Montes to walk a few steps ahead before fetching his attention, “let’s take a look at that cruiser.”
His mood raised, Montes’ smile is brought back, the young man accompanying the sheriff through the lot with the car in sight. Unlocking the doors, West throws himself into the driver’s seat both out of exhaustion and pain, the leather seats welcoming him with an embrace. “I know it’s only been a few days, but it feels good to be back in here” West murmurs, watching through the rear-view mirror as Montes climbs into the backseat.
“What were you looking for back there, champ?” West inquires, resting the handle of his cane against the open door. “Anything that suggests a supernatural force was in here” Montes replies, his hands suspended in the air as he looks around aimlessly, unsure of where to start. “Alright, now go ahead and explain to me what that looks like” West follows-up, not taking long to ask a question his subordinate has no decent answer to.
“Is exoplasm a thing?” Montes replies, one eye squinted harder than the other, his voice purposefully softening, already regretting the question. “I said he wasn’t human, not ‘let’s call the Ghostbusters’, rookie” West responds, running into the cul-de-sac his initial question had lead them to.
“Then I don’t know” Montes replies, his shoulders shrugging as he surveys the backseat, the only noticeable damage having been committed against the partition. “Can you give me a little more to work with than ‘not human’?” Montes finally inquires, staring to the man in the seat ahead. “Sure, but I don’t need to” West replies, nonchalantly reaching beneath the window-attached mirror just overhead, removing a small camera designed to blend in with the lens.
“You couldn’t have told me that before I mentioned exoplasm?” Montes sarcastically remarks, earning the laugh he’d failed to get when entering the lot. “I’m not supposed to be on my feet” West jokes, gazing back over his seat to find Montes’ unamused face, “I needed a break.”
Reclaiming his cane, West pushes himself from the cruiser’s seat, limping around the car to rejoin his increasingly-likeable novice. “So, how are you gonna explain what happens in that clip?” Montes wonders aloud, his question confusing the sheriff. “Who am I explaining this to?” West responds, his puzzlement not a method for amusement this second time around.
“To the people in evidence?” Montes replies, looking to West as if the answer was obvious, his sheriff’s head shaking. “This isn’t going to evidence” West replies, throwing the small box into the air before catching it with his free hand, continuing to limp onward. “Are you serious?” Montes inquires, his question left unanswered as West begins to whistle, forced to stop when Montes jumps ahead, impeding his path forward.
“That might be the most critical evidence we have to find those kids!” Montes exclaims, a declaration that West does agree with, but also struggles to fully believe. “Rookie, those kids probably died before I woke up in the hospital” West responds, stepping around Montes to continue his walk forward, “all I need is a picture of the guy who did it. That’s the thing that’ll go around every news station from here to New Orleans.”
“How ironic, isn’t that the same solution you had for those girls a while back?” Montes replies, allowing West to create a short amount of distance between them before the sheriff’s departure halts. “What did you just say to me?” West replies, his tone dropping significantly, head glancing toward the deputy from over his shoulder, the air having quieted.
Quiet for a moment, Montes looks to the sheriff, watching the hunched-over, wounded man stand there, ear belonging to the rookie. “I thought as much” West remarks, turning his face toward the exit before stepping forward again. “Isn’t that the same solution you had for those dead girls!?” Montes shouts back, answering the sheriff’s question just as West had lost hope in hearing one, prompting his superior to stop yet again.
“Let me ask you again” West responds, his body turning slightly as he glances over his shoulder for a second time, his voice dropping even further, “what did you-”
“You know what I said” Montes replies, matching West’s cold, callous tone despite his insides turning, shifted from the fear he hides deep within him. With a sigh, West turns around the rest of the way, peering into Montes’ eyes with a scowl. “I’m going to give you one last opportunity” West replies, placing one foot in front of the other, each step slower than the last, not another carried in his breath until the space between himself and the rookie is no more.
“What did you just say to me?” West repeats, looking into Montes’ eyes for the slightest shift, the young man’s blue eyes stoically kept upon the whites of West’s own. “I said what I said” Montes replies, West’s face inching ever-so-closer to his own, their eyes kept still. “And that was?” West questions, practically daring the rookie to double down in any way other than explicitly telling him to.
Leaning forward himself, Montes touches his nose to West’s own, repeating his previous statement. “I said what I said” the tyro replies, the man that confronts him wielding his cane as a weapon, striking Montes in the side of the knee before sweeping his leg out with the cane’s handle. “Say it like a man!” West shouts, his voice bouncing off the walls of the concrete enclosure, the words wrapping around the pair like a sonic blanket.
More than meeting West’s demand, Montes wastes no time in springing back to his feet, a surprisingly bunched-up right hand swinging through the air without warning. His face warping as Montes’ strike shifts his jaw, West hits the floor, his cane sliding across the ground as the sheriff grabs at his chin, the punch he’d taken served well.
“I said you’re fucking up just like you did with those girls!” Montes howls, the echo effect of West’s shut duplicated for Montes, audibly holding them on an even level. “You can stand around and pretend like you wouldn’t redo it if you had the chance, but I know damn well you would!” Montes yells, the grizzled professional staring up at him from the ground, refusing to interrupt.
“The plane crash, these murders, this fucking serial killer- this is your doing!” Montes declares, a remark that, in his toppled, assaulted and exhausted daze, West is unable to refuse. “All of this could’ve been avoided if you bit the bullet and promised to crack down on corruption- or whatever cheap tagline you could write to save face!” Montes concludes, beginning to step over West as he makes for the exit, “but you painted those girls as criminals- and now all these people are dead!”
Though able to get up and give chase, West stays on the ground, watching Montes step out of the garage, returning to his duties for as long as his employment lasts. The door slamming shut amidst Montes’ exit, West remains on the ground, the adrenaline built from the punch incapable of overwhelming the frustration that, mostly through a cloud of anger, he can’t find much fault in Montes’ confession.
\ Realm of Reality /
“I don’t remember” Rachel groans, her eyes sleepy and head groggy, resting on Jared’s shoulder as he holds her steady, his arm wrapped around her. “That’s alright, we’ll get there” Jared responds, letting Rachel’s head rest against him, comforting her as best as he can manage. “Can you tell me what you do remember?” Jared queries, his chin pressing against her forehead, his voice soft and soothing.
Struggling, Rachel grimaces, her eyes squinting at the hassle of thought, a headache brought on hours prior remaining as present as it had begun. “I know I live in a house with my parents” Rachel responds, the basic recollection bringing a smile to Jared’s face, the illusion of progress alone rewarding in itself.
“I’m in high school?” Rachel asks, tilting her head upward to look Jared in the eyes, his nod somewhat of a reward for her troubles. “I have friends, right?” Rachel questions, the question itself making Jared laugh, her headway having earned another nod. “You’re very likeable and pretty. People don’t really stay alone for long with that combo” Jared jokes, watching Rachel smile appreciatively, able to comprehend a compliment.
“Do you know any of your friends’ names?” Jared redirects, her proud expression falling aside, a more inquisitive look dawning upon her face. “Uh, I-” Rachel staggers, looking off into the distance as thoughts escape her, the fragmented mind shielded by her skull growing more blank the longer she struggles. “I don’t know” Rachel finally whimpers, her eyes beginning to water as Jared gently sways her, the young woman held securely within his arms.
“That’s alright, we won’t over-do it. It’s okay if you don’t know” Jared replies, the girl’s struggles nearly bringing him to tears. “What about me?” Jared whispers, pulling his face away as Rachel turns to him, trying to give her a good look at his face, “do you remember my name?” Parting her lips, Rachel hesitates, short and subtle sounds made whilst she waits for a response, seemingly hoping Jared’s expressions would guide her toward the right answer.
“Ppp, Ttt, Lll, Mmm” Rachel hums, watching the hope drain from Jared’s eyes the further she moves along, unable to lead him on any further, “I don’t know.” Watching Jared’s face fall, Rachel’s earlier pride erodes, the empty joy she’d felt seconds prior overturned. “Oh god, you’re disappointed” Rachel mutters beneath her breath, the slip of Jared’s positive expression corrected as quickly as it had been brought upon.
“No! No! No!” Jared emphatically replies, rubbing the girl’s shoulders in as friendly of a manner as possible, trying everything he can manage to not discourage her. “It’s okay, I can’t be disappointed in you! You got hurt and now you have to get better, that’s all!” Jared remarks, their eyes again looking into each other’s, looking for the same optimistic demeanour.
“Soon enough, you’ll know my name, and you’ll know your friends’ names, and you’ll know what school you go to, and everything will-” Jared adds, suddenly pausing as his eyebrows lower, his head pulling back for a moment, almost as if he doubts what he wants to say, “-everything will go back to normal.”
Left without an answer, Rachel watches Jared’s eyes pan across the room, looking at each wall as he caresses her, their efforts stopped at the distant sound of a metal door’s opening. “Okay, you do remember what I told you to do when the bad man comes, right?” Jared inquires, Rachel’s assertive nod implying a genuine memory.
Retreating to his bed, Jared unleashes Rachel’s hand from his own, propping himself in the corner just as he has since awakening inside the bunker. Forced to duck beneath the door’s frame, Lincoln enters the paddock, an ingenuine smile paid to the sight of a now-conscious Rachel. “Look at you, killer!” Lincoln exclaims, feigning astonishment as he steps onto solid ground, two platters of food levitating behind him.
“Has she made it more than a few minutes without slipping back under?” Lincoln inquires, his question aimed at Jared, who wields a shiv out of the plastic tray from days prior. Silent, Jared just stares back, looking at Lincoln with a look of repulsion, slowly running a jagged piece of metal along what would be his dagger’s blade.
“No comment? Okay” Lincoln responds, resting each individual platter at the foot of their beds, hands pressing upon his hips. “So that’s what you’re going with? A shiv?” Lincoln inquires, addressing the obvious elephant in the room, “I have the powers of a world you didn’t even know existed and your solution is ‘Shawshank Redemption’?”
“My solution is whatever’s gonna kill you- because I’m gonna kill you” Jared responds, his voice lowered from the compassionate, empathetic tone he’d taken with Rachel. “Yeah, said that, heard that” Lincoln mocks, waving his hands through the air as he steps forward, having his fun with poking at Jared’s aggression, “don’t you have something more interesting for me?”
His smile quickly fading, Lincoln’s eyes take to the sound of twisting metal in the direction he’d arrived through, the narrow, steep staircase leading into the bunker ensuring the sound travels well. His eyes widened, Lincoln hears the bolts and screws rip from the chamber’s exterior, he and his two prisoners immediately locking their sights upon the bunker’s entrance.
“Whoever’s up there, I’d suggest you not enter any further!” Lincoln exclaims, summoning a long, electrical current-sporting blade from thin air, its glow a deep, vibrant blue. “You say that like it’ll detour me” an effeminate voice calls back, Jared and Rachel’s past look unchanged as compared to Lincoln’s, his eyes somehow managing to grow wider.
Suspensefully, a set of light footsteps begins to climb down from the surface of earth, their shadow cast against walls behind the backlight of the sun. Two larger, heavier and less coordinated set of feet following after her, the girl reaches the bunker and rounds the corner, entering the makeshift prison cell. “I see you’re living well” the woman remarks, two men, their frames much larger than that of Lincoln’s, standing in the doorway behind her.
“Suzie?” Lincoln whispers, her sight nothing short of an amazement to him, her cheap smirk and furrowed brow presenting a lack of enthusiasm to be confronted with the man’s sight. Crossing her arms, Suzie stretches a single leg outward, her left eyebrow lifting, “how’s it been, Linc?” she replies, her lip curling. Passing a glance to each other, Jared and Rachel share confusion, unsure of what to make of what’s occurring before them, or what fates await them imminently.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“Uurrgghh!” Vic exclaims, throwing her hand forward in a fit of anger, the photograph she’d attempted to throw no longer within her grip. Quickly growing privy to her new surroundings, Vic’s frustration begins to descend from its height, the young woman discovering herself to be stood in the centre of a long, near-endless corridor.
Summoning her service weapon, Vic bathes the wide passage in crisp, blue light, the country club-like display cases that line the hallway appearing too preppy for the architecture much of the realm holds preference to. “Hello!?” Vic exclaims, the sound of her voice triggering lights throughout the aisle’s length, one small bulb lighting up over each individual vitrine.
Startled, Vic steps back at the sudden burst of light, her back pressing into a sturdy, nondescript wall, an entire half of the corridor rendered impassable. Struggling to comprehend where she is and what’s happened, Vic peers back toward the passage’s depths, her destination- however far away- occupying such incredible depths that it evades the girl’s line of sight.
Left with little choice as far as she’s been made aware, Vic begins her descent upon what lies ahead, each step forward taken with as much caution as the one before it. “You wanted me here- now you’ve got me” Vic proclaims, recalling the advice she was given with intentions set on putting it to use, “if I’ve really got your ear- tell me what you want from me.”
Her request unanswered, Vic proceeds onward, the irritation she’d held moments prior beginning to reappear. Plenty of questions encircling her frazzled mind, Vic favours to keep them trapped inside of her head, the lack of answers she’s been receiving leaving her little room to expect a change to occur.
Uninterested in the ephemera that lines each wall, Vic’s advancement persists, her earlier inquiry finally earning the response she’d hoped for. A few metres ahead, a single lightbulb burns out, easily catching Vic’s eye as she nears, little else to challenge her attention. Drawn to the light’s absence, Vic diverts course, her chary approach of the gallery’s end placed on hold for the moment.
Able to see her reflection in the glass, Vic peers into the mantle, just beginning to lift her weapon toward the showcase before the burned bulb gets its convenient second wind. With the cupboard aglow, Vic stares through the glass panel, her sights latching upon a photograph taken from afar, its colour faded as if it’d been snapped decades prior and exposed to the elements.
Though the quality remains poor, Vic’s interest only increases, faces she shouldn’t have the ability to recognise somehow appearing undeniably familiar. Dismissing her service weapon, Vic opens the shadow box and reaches for the picture. “I wouldn’t do that” Suzie murmurs, watching from directly behind Vic, the henchmen she refuses to wander without no longer beside her.
Interrupted before she can fulfil her goal, Vic glances back, her service weapon summoned once more as she looks Suzie in the eyes. “What are you doing here?” Vic calmly asks, the tone in her voice- though not off-putting- making her willingness to engage in conflict clear. “I could ask you the same thing” Suzie replies, taking one look toward the hallway’s abyss before continuing, “this isn’t for you.”
“Well, I’m here” Vic quickly interjects, her previously poised tone falling out of favour, a defensive and angry tone having taken refuge in her vocal chords. “Yes- yes, you are” Suzie replies, beginning the journey Vic had set aside, the passage’s endpoint commanding her presence, “and that’s a damn shame.”
Obviously taken aback by the woman’s demeanour and reaction, Vic watches Suzie walk away, the mysterious throne-seeker leaving with a declaration of disappointment. “Why is it a damn shame?” Vic calls out, continuing to watch the woman descend upon what lies at the corridor’s end, ignoring the questions she asks. “Hey!?” Vic exclaims, again receiving no answer, Suzie’s hands tucked into the pockets of a fleece jacket, her advancement continuing, “hey!”
Propelled into action, Vic begins to march onward, her service weapon reclaimed as Suzie remains unresponsive. “I asked you a question!” Vic exclaims, reaching her hand toward Suzie’s shoulder as she nears closer, her attempt at turning the woman around falling well short. As her fingers grace Suzie’s shoulder, the invasive spirit vanishes, again leaving Vic alone in the corridor’s depths.
“Pretty freaky, huh?” Suzie queries, reappearing behind Vic for the second time to an obvious result, startling the one occupant in the gallery with the realm’s blessing to be present. Beginning to respond, Vic feels the ground beneath her soften, taking a quick glance toward the floor to find little explanation, its sturdy foundation entirely unchanged from what she’d known it to be.
“Just wait until the air gets thicker” Suzie warns, recapturing Vic’s ear, the young woman looking back to her, “it’ll be like every breath costs a dollar and you’re running low on funds.” Almost on cue, Suzie’s premonitions reign true, forcing Vic to speak before the ability to do so is taken. “What do you want from me!?” Vic growls, only able to voice a few words at once before her lungs plead for another inhale.
“I want what’s mine” Suzie replies, dropping to one knee just before the ground softens for a second time, Vic soon forced to mirror Suzie’s stance as she falls to one knee. Before long, Vic attempts to respond, her lips parting with nothing to say, physically unable to respond. Treated to silence, Suzie slides the photo Vic had intended to steal from her pocket, holding it before the breath-stripped young woman.
“Guide this realm” Suzie remarks, her voice changing drastically, more reminiscent of the fuzzy spirit that had enticed Vic to the depleting paradox she now strives to leave with her life. “You are chosen” Suzie declares, her face now becoming distorted, the picture she extends toward Vic starting to fade rapidly.
Her eyes going bloodshot as her lips turn a faint blue, Vic stares into the picture, her consciousness fleeting. Searing the picture into her mind, Vic gives into the game she’d become the centrepiece of, snatching the photograph out of Suzie’s hand as she throws herself forward, unable to ease the impact as she crashes into the ground.
Letting out a roar as she collides with the floor, Vic struggles for air, filling her lungs as quickly as she depletes them, the room having left her in total darkness. Repeatedly slamming her hand into the carpet, Vic’s palm meets solid ground, her breaths no longer budgeted, the twisted reality painted now straightened.
Returned to a room vacated by light, Vic pushes herself upward, uncertain of what lies ahead. “Hello!?” the young woman exclaims, retracing her steps from earlier, an act that quickly pays off. Her orders more direct this second time around, the passage remains unchanged, the issue of its softened ground and thick air indeed repaired, but it’s tasteful display cases and distant conclusion remain intact.
Flickering, a single lightbulb burns on command, its cabinet the only one of countless others to present itself to the wanderer. With another swift peek around herself, Vic approaches the mantle, right hand pressed against her head in an effort to shield her eyes from the fulgurating bulb. Confused, Vic moves closer to the showcase, her attempt at discovering a better vantage point failing to change the cupboard’s vacuity.
“What the fuck?” Vic whispers beneath her breath, the glass-covered shelves equally empty to that of the wall they’re nailed into. Her head shaking, Vic steps back, the bulb continuing to flicker, filling the room with darkness at will. “This-” Vic begins to mutter, her focus altering as she pauses, pulling her sights past the barren mantlepiece and closer toward what resides before it.
Moving closer, Vic looks into the window, barely able to make out her own reflection in the solid pane, the lambent bulb not helping matters. Caressing the side of her face, Vic looks into her face, familiar with the smooth skin that runs along her jawline and to her square chin, her soft nose and symmetrical cheekbones.
However similar her face appears in the brief moments she’s allowed to view it, one feature fails to align, a canvas of familiarity rendered entirely foreign with one flaw. Staring back at herself, Vic’s green eyes assume a deep, extraordinary shade of blue, depleting the young woman of any sound reasoning she may have entered this hellacious lobby with.
Her mouth widening, Vic backs away, unable to take her eyes off the reflection despite her deep desires to do just that. Through the air, a soft breeze rolls in, Vic’s hair thrown toward the corridor’s recesses as her reflection vanishes, the lightbulb above it joining the rest in darkness.
“You shall guide” a soft, distant voice mutters from afar, stealing Vic’s eyes with as much ease as the mantle had. Recalling her failed attempt at confrontation earlier, Vic restrains herself from answering, allowing the realm to guide her where it sees fit.
“You shall guide” the disembodied voice repeats, growing closer this second time around. Pressing her feet into the ground, Vic lets her hands hang, waiting patiently. “You shall guide” the voice shouts once more, its declaration providing answers this time around, revealing the gallery’s furthest point to Vic, shone beneath a single, well-lit spotlight.
“You shall guide” the voice repeats, this time given a mouth and little more, the rest of the thin figure’s face a slate wiped of all definition. Her mind flooded with questions as it normally is, Vic chooses to remain silent, the figure that calls to her sat upon a throne carved from stone. “You shall guide” the figure remarks for a fifth time, its throne moving closer to Vic, the corridor shortening before the young woman’s eyes.
Only a few metres away, the throne’s advancement halts, immediately granting the spectre permission to disembark. Pushing itself from the seat, the spectre descends a set of stairs before reaching Vic’s level, what’s present of its face taken toward Vic’s direction. Refusing to escalate the situation any further, Vic keeps to herself, watching the apparition’s chin lower as a result.
“You shall guide” the spectre professes, their tone souring, almost angered at the statement they, themselves, make. Unprovoked, the spectre rushes forward, speeding in Vic’s direction with violent intentions, the chance at peaceful resolution no longer possible. Prepared, Vic lets the figure close in, her left hand wrapping around the ghoul’s wrist as it grabs her by the throat, answering with the same manoeuvre to an equal result.
“Die!” Scarlett shouts, losing her grip on Vic’s throat as she flies through the air, her friend’s attempt at reversing the phantom’s velocity making for a clean separation. “Scarlett, what the fuck!?” Vic exclaims, watching her friend glide through the air as they levitate high above the ground, their respective illusions not only crumbling, but reconnecting them. “Wh- what the fuck!?” Scarlett screams, snapping free from her paradox and discovering herself to be returned to the realm beyond.
“What the fuck just happened!?” Vic exclaims, sharing in her friend’s confusion, unable to make sense of what had just happened. “I don’t know- I- I don’t fucking know!” Scarlett staggers, trying desperately to recapture her thoughts, “I was in a- carnival- and there was this person and these things- I just- fuck!”
Hovering high above the ground, the girls float a short distance apart, each trying to comprehend the experiences they’d just interacted with. Unable to put together her thoughts let alone a coherent sentence, Scarlett looks toward the security blanket across the air from her, seeking comfort in the equanimity she looks to Vic for.
Uncharacteristically, Vic’s face reads just as Scarlett’s does, a mixture of profound uncertainty and horrified shock contained within her expression. “Vic, what happened?” Scarlett pleads, breathing heavily as the question is raised, her friend’s eyes looking into her own with equal cluelessness. “I don’t know, Scar” Vic replies, shaking her head with widened eyes, forced to hold back a deep breath of her own, “I don’t know.”
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
Unlocking a large, metal door, Jared and Rachel’s abductor enters a large, concrete-encased room, a pair of food-covered trays floating beside him. “Wakey wakey” the brute mocks, letting the plastic platter fall upon the thin cushions made to mimic a bed, “the two of you have plenty to keep yourselves fed for the next couple of days, right?”
Sat where his pillow would be, Jared leans against the wall with a grimace, his left leg bent whilst the other sprawls out upon the foam-filled sack he’s seated on. “I’m gonna kill you, Lincoln” Jared murmurs, his left hand pressed against the side of his head, the only thing held between his skull and the wall he sits against. “Such a thing is just not possible” Lincoln replies, completely unphased by the threats wagered against him.
“I don’t care” Jared replies, watching Lincoln’s eyes take toward him, rolling before doing so, “I’ll either kill you or I’ll die trying, and I’m perfectly fine with that.” With a frown, Lincoln stares at Jared for a moment before entering the bunker, sliding the entrance shut on his way inside. “Why are you so angry?” Lincoln inquires, a cotton sweatshirt covering his upper body whilst a pair of ripped grey jeans serve the same purpose below.
“I’m locked in a basement, why wouldn’t I be?” Jared groans, never raising his voice past a grumble, trying to remain considerate of those he suffers alongside. “It’s a bunker, not a basement” Lincoln corrects, sitting himself at the opposite edge of Jared’s bed, hands folded atop his lap, “sure, the living conditions aren’t great. But why else?”
“Why do I need another reason?” Jared quickly responds, his answer received with equal speediness. “Because it’s a contributing factor, but it’s not why you’re actually mad” Lincoln replies, his eyes kept level with Jared’s own as the conversation continues. “I don’t need a reason to be angry” Jared reiterates, Lincoln again partially agreeing with him.
“You don’t need a reason to be angry- but you do have one” the confident brute replies, his hands unclasping as their palms rest against each knee. “Even if I did, what would it change?” Jared inquires, Lincoln’s answer not coming off with as much speed as the previous ones had. “Well, not much” Lincoln answers, watching Jared’s eyes trail across the room, no longer invested in the discourse.
“It’s better to get that kind of stuff off your chest, though” Lincoln adds, successfully regaining Jared’s attention, “as it turns out, you might be able to focus a lot better when you do.” Though depraved of energy and high spirits, Jared’s environment fails to strip away his preference for sarcasm. “What am I supposed to focus on, exactly?” Jared inquires, staring at Lincoln with repugnance, “there’s not much down here to keep me busy.”
“Try to kill me” Lincoln swiftly responds, watching as Jared looks to him quietly, almost unsure he’d heard the man correctly. “Try to escape, plot my demise, sneak a phone in here and call your cop friend- I don’t care” Lincoln doubles down, Jared’s eyes lighting up at the suggestion, almost starting to think Lincoln’s offers are more intended as dares.
“Your sheriff doesn’t startle me and breaking out of here only puts you in more danger than you realise” Lincoln explains further, his audience held captive in more ways than one. “As for the dying thing, it’s not going to happen- but who am I to crush someone’s dreams?” Lincoln traunts, the smile he’d attempted to respectfully conceal now reaching the surface, his left eyebrow lifting.
“Obviously, it’s not my favourite outcome- but I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be a reprieve” Lincoln further clarifies, “I’ve lived a lifetime’s worth of bitter hatred, and I’ve seen fates worse than hell itself- death doesn’t bother me.” Able to interrupt freely, Jared keeps himself silent, allowing Lincoln to make whatever assumptions he pleases without dissuasion.
“Go ahead- conjure up some brilliant schemes to break out of your purgatory or whatever” Lincoln remarks, preparing his departure to little fanfare, “it’s not the most outlandish thing you’ll-”
His back turned to the boy, Lincoln pauses mid-step, the conclusions Jared had allowed him to make leaving room for a revelation to dawn. Looking to the opposite side of the room, Lincoln’s eyes take to Rachel, the girl’s cuts and wounds bandaged, her face bruised and at peace as she sleeps. “I see” Lincoln mutters, turning back to Jared, the young man already having returned his sights to their captor.
His eyes filling with anger, Jared recognises the look in Lincoln’s face, making peace with the likelihood that the man’s discovery is true. “You’re mad about her” Lincoln declares, his right hand pointing at the injured girl, his smile brought back, this time with little effort to restrain it.
Lip quivering, Jared holds back tears as he look to the young woman he- regardless of their history- still considers a friend. “She can’t remember my name” Jared responds, pointing to the sleeping body as Lincoln returns, drawn back to his prisoner from a place of intrigue. “That’s usually what happens with a concussion as bad as she had” Lincoln replies, retaking his seat at the edge of the bed, “I’m sure it’ll stay that way for as long as I have to mop up her vomit.”
His anger only continuing to build, Jared provides the silent treatment yet again, his intentions already cleared by this point. Trying to shatter Jared’s composure, Lincoln continues, his head inching closer with every few seconds, imposing his control. “Do you think she’ll ever get better?” Lincoln questions, the look in Jared’s eyes not giving Lincoln much trouble in deciphering the emotions behind it, “from an intelligence standpoint, I mean?”
“Fuck you” Jared mumbles, buried nearly so far beneath his voice that Lincoln almost mishears it, striking whilst the iron’s hot regardless. “I’ll tell you what- I’m not putting my money on it” Lincoln continues, his smile only widening the longer he speaks, “I have to be honest, I’d be a horrible doctor. I’m pretty sure I skipped a few steps in her recovery that’ll really jeopardise my future chances at getting into medical school.”
Slapping his thigh, Lincoln feigns laughter, practically able to watch the malicious thoughts build in Jared’s mind, his brain swelling with thoughts of violent retribution. “Oh gee, these really are the times where humour makes a difference, eh?” Lincoln wonders aloud, watching Jared’s nostrils flare and chest expand.
“What’s not funny, however, is betrayal” Lincoln continues, his attitude changing, the fake laughter shelved for pure, bottled wrath. “That part’s the exact opposite of humour. It’s- it’s- it’s misplaced power” the man remarks, the air getting quiet by the slightest amount, the air conditioner’s ventilation wafting through the room just a little bit louder than before.
“You’re not the one laughing at the joke- you are the joke” Lincoln endures, the rage he’d built within Jared’s eyes not settling. Looking in Rachel’s direction once more, Lincoln pauses, the sight of the much younger girl sparking memories from his past. “Do yourself a favour. Live the last few months of your life correctly” Lincoln urges, looking back to the young man across from him, speaking from whatever heart he has left, “don’t let yourself be a joke.”
Seemingly gifted with an unbreakable cool upon birth, Jared maintains his composure, responding to Lincoln in the most amusing way he can concoct. Leaning forward, Jared matches the man’s posture, the ire built by Lincoln appearing to have granted the young man with a newfound passion.
“I’m going to kill you” Jared vows, reiterating the threat he’d made to Lincoln minutes preceding. His smile falling into a grin, Lincoln continues to take humour from Jared’s declaration, though he listens for the power behind his statement, forcing himself to take the hazard seriously.
“I know it’s laughable to hear coming from a moody, disadvantaged teenager with a police record, but don’t laugh- because I won’t be” the kid continues, bravely pushing his face closer toward Lincoln’s, their noses only a few centimetres apart by the time he concludes. With a deep breath, Lincoln waits for the young man to finish his thought, almost taking a strange sense of pride in the reaction.
“I’m gonna help Rachel recover, I’m gonna break out of this shithole, and I’m gonna come back to find you” Jared closes, spacing his last few words apart, “then, I’m- gonna- kill- you.”
Nodding, Lincoln maintains his eye contact as Jared pulls away, returning to his seat in the room’s corner. Silenced, Lincoln pulls away and follows through on his original attempt to leave, the door sealing shut as he departs.
\ Realm of Reality /
“Of course it doesn’t make sense, I never said it did” Vic replies, sat across a sofa from Scarlett, the three-cushioned seat still wrapped in the plastic it had been delivered in. “Do you think it was even real?” Scarlett inquires, sitting against the armrest with her legs across the cushions, “I know- or, I think- I remember Suzie saying something about our minds getting messed up. I’ve got no reason to want you dead, so-?”
“Are you asking me if this was the realm fucking with our heads?” Vic inquires, almost insulting the implication on impulse. “I’m asking you if this could be the start of what Suzie was talking about-” Scarlett responds, sharing Vic’s style in having a towel wrapped around their wet hair, “-of the realm driving us mad.”
Attempting to refute Scarlett’s claim, Vic begins to shake her head until second thoughts arrive, her initial pessimism noticeably lowering. “Don’t even try to talk your way out of this one, Vic” Scarlett warns, locking eyes with her realm mate, “I know what that look means with you, and it’s never sunshine and rainbows.”
Rolling her eyes, Vic pulls her feet off the ground and stretches her legs against the portion of the couch Scarlett’s yet to occupy. “I’m sure the realm’s gonna fuck with us in some- admittedly odd- ways” Vic replies, still hesitant to believe their experiences weren’t genuine, “we went out looking for answers, and we got them. I think that- right there- is proof that some of it was legit.”
“Then what does that mean?” Scarlett replies, lifting her shoulders as she leans forward, “we’ve got two crazy people and a witch- I think- to deal with. We need to start getting answers instead of ass-load of questions.”
“That’s a great plan, Scar. I wonder why we haven’t started doing that already?” Vic mocks, tilting her head toward the ceiling as her partner defends her point. “I know you’re sick of me asking questions you know just as much about, but-” Scarlett explains, her thoughts derailed by Vic’s sudden interjection.
“Yes! Of course I am, Scar! What do you want me to say!?” Vic exclaims, throwing her hands out as she begins shouting, “figuring this confusing bullshit out is just as important to me! If I had the answers, I’d fucking use them!” Hanging her head, Scarlett makes up for Vic’s irritation, holding her hand out in a show of peace.
“Can you please calm down and just talk to me?” Scarlett inquires, prohibiting herself from continuing until Vic collects herself. “Go ahead” Vic remarks, taking a few seconds to reassemble herself, able to set her frustration aside to recognise her need to step back from the discussion. “I think we need a plan. Not just a ‘we’ll talk a few minutes before bed’ kind of thing, but an actual plan” Scarlett explains, a solution Vic doesn’t wholeheartedly disagree with.
“Great, what’s our plan?” Vic wonders aloud, watching the look on her friend’s face turn quickly to disappointment. “I don’t have one yet” Scarlett replies, immediately prompting Vic to roll her eyes and leave the couch, stripping the towel from atop her head to reveal curly, wet hair newly-dyed her original brunette colour. “I’m going to the store to buy-” Vic remarks, stopping at the door to take a second look at the home, amused at the still near-empty interior, “-everything, it appears.”
“Vic, come on!” Scarlett groans, her plea left answered only by the sound of the front door slamming shut. Slapping the couch’s side in anger, Scarlett sinks further into the couch, her seat quickly becoming a lay down, hands covering her face. With a groan, Scarlett’s hands go limp, falling to each side of the sofa, her knuckles tapping against the floor.
As the home is silenced, Scarlett is left to her thoughts, her eyes tracing unintended outlines through the dots on the popcorn ceiling a decent few metres overhead. “How the fuck are we supposed to be a team if- fuck” Scarlett sighs, stopping her self-doubt before it has the chance to begin. Though her thoughts are no longer put into words, the question Scarlett had begun to raise is left unanswered, attacking her focus like an uneven picture frame to a perfectionist.
In a moment of perceived genius, Scarlett rolls off the couch, the instinct she commonly acts upon beginning to lead her toward the kitchen. Sat upon their countertop and just beside the sink, a small, black plastic bag sits in the open, waiting to be shuffled through as if it were a present on a holiday morning. Removing cans of iced tea, packaged salads and hygiene products, Scarlett closes in on her true intention, an even smaller blue pouch held together by string.
Unfastening it’s restraints, Scarlett slides her finger into the sack, little time needed for a small, ovular, white pill to fall into her palm. Tying the string with her teeth, Scarlett discards of the pouch in the back of a nearby drawer, its placement no longer of importance to her. Filling a glass of water and downing the tablet, Scarlett retreats to the sofa, glancing at the sunset over the Arabian Sea just past her bannister.
With a sigh, Scarlett rests her back upon the cushions, folding her hands over her chest and closing her eyes, attempting to steady her breaths as she lulls herself into slumber. “You’re not gonna fuck with my head” Scarlett mutters beneath her breath, sinking further into the cushions as she prepares to drift off, defying her own suggestions in search of answers.
== Dream Sequence ==
“Can we help you?” Vic asks the tall, black man as she trails through the house, following the trail of water Scarlett left behind whilst creating one of her own. “I’m not sure yet” the man bluntly responds, hands hung by his side as he looks Scarlett in the eyes, almost studying the young woman’s response. “Is this weird look you’re giving me supposed to help?” Scarlett inquires, her caustic remark earning a chuckle from the visitor.
“In my own way- yes” Lincoln replies, a bright, perfect smile on his face as he looks up, peering across the living room where Vic resides. “I see you survived” Lincoln proclaims, both Vic and Scarlett’s faces beginning to drop, their shift in expression quickly touched upon by their guest. “You see, it’s that- That face I was looking for” Lincoln clarifies, his index finger raised to Vic.
Defying the unspoken understanding of private property, Lincoln pushes past Scarlett, allowing himself entry as he approaches Vic. “Don’t come any closer” Vic warns, matching each forward step Lincoln takes with one backwards. “Why not?” Lincoln asks, the heavy shoes he wears tapping against the hardwood floors loudly, Vic’s eyes wandering toward Scarlett’s direction, the bolder half of the duo standing back, patiently awaiting her cue.
“Because it’s not the safest idea for you” Vic responds, taking the man’s persistence for what it is- a display of intimidation. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before” Lincoln responds, his progression suddenly stopping once he reaches the centre of the room, Vic and Scarlett an equal distance away from him, though across the room from each other.
“I think you should leave” Vic apprises the man, her retreat ceasing as Lincoln’s does, the man’s unearned, gleeful visage making it difficult to decipher his intentions. “What if I want to stay?” the man replies, his voice lowering, a soft and almost seductive tone taken, a charm and pep to his speech that would appear welcoming under different circumstances.
“You might force us to do something we’d rather not” Scarlett replies, Lincoln’s face turning slightly sideways, his eyes glancing in the brunette’s direction. “Oh yeah?” Lincoln inquires, his body turning a few inches further toward Scarlett, his eyes pressing upon her person rather than the vicinity which she occupies. Half of the floor raised slightly higher than the rest, Lincoln stands at the point in which each half meets, Vic standing nearest the villa’s patio.
His smile intact, Lincoln takes a single step forward whilst keeping his face toward Scarlett, his right boot pressing into the lower platform, the right soon to join it. No longer retreating, Vic looks to her peer, a single eyebrow raised in Scarlett’s direction, a subdued nod given. A second step taken forward, Lincoln’s eyes remain plastered in Scarlett’s direction, the quick-tempered realm-leaper acting at Vic’s behest.
Putting her abilities to the test, Scarlett’s hand lifts from beneath the counter she’d stood behind, her open palm thrown toward Lincoln from her side. Not unfamiliar with the environment he’s entered- or with whom he shares it with- Lincoln responds in kind, the powerful force thrown in his direction answered in kind. Throwing his arms against his chest, Franklin surrounds himself with a bright blue, semi-transparent orb at the perfect time, Scarlett’s offence missing its mark.
Waiting for a moment, Lincoln allows his reaction to their efforts to settle, his arms uncrossing once he determines the moment is right. Her eyes widened, Scarlett stares at Lincoln with disbelief whilst Vic steps back, her shoulders pressing into the large glass walls that separate their living space from the patio. “Cool trick, huh?” Lincoln quips, his pleased grin having returned, “got any of your own?”
As the girls looking to each other in silent disbelief, Lincoln relaxes his defence, giving the teenagers a shrug. The parlour void of any furniture, Lincoln begins to pace around the large floor, his eyes inevitably falling upon the remarkably clear waters of the Arabian sea. “Of course you wouldn’t” Lincoln remarks, Scarlett departing the kitchen in favour of staying close to the only other friendly face.
“I wasn’t talking about the plane crash earlier, by the way” Lincoln clarifies, his hand held toward the girls’ faces, “it’s been so long since someone survived those tragedies that, if I’m being honest, it’s nice to just see people get a win.” His awareness made more apparent, Lincoln pushes his cloak aside, taking a seat on the higher portion of the platform, the two girls now close enough for him to see at once.
“How do you know about the realm?” Vic interrupts, eager to depart from the silent inspection she and Scarlett had tried to leverage. Pressing his hands together, Lincoln rubs his palms with increasing force, only stopping when the laugh he holds back finally pushes itself aside. “How do you think?” Lincoln answers, his eyes squinting in the girls’ direction, neither of their faces implying the first of any clue.
“I- don’t know” Vic replies, stumbling over her words at first, caught up in the implications raised. “The two of you aren’t the first team the realm decided to give a home, but if I have my way- you will be the last” Lincoln responds. His elbows pressing into his knees, Lincoln hunches forward, his eyes kept solely upon the girls, “I was the realm’s chosen son, and then I was betrayed” the man confesses, still wearing the smile, “now I’ve come back to be king.”
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
“How long until we have to go public with this?” West inquires, laid in a hospital bed with a plethora of injuries to nurse. “Technically, we don’t have-” a nearby officer begins to reply, West’s expectations already having tracked the answer to its intended destination. “I know we don’t technically have to go public at all” West interrupts, watching the officer hand his head, hands clasped together by his waist, “how long until we should go public with this?”
Disheartened, the officer pauses for a moment, lifting his eyes toward West, the sheriff’s right arm in a cast, his face and abdomen bruised and cut. “In theory, it’d be favourable to go public within the next twelve hours” the common, found-everywhere deputy responds, “and it’d be ideal if you were the one that made the announcement.”
“How the hell do you figure that?” West quickly inquires, struggling to push himself a few centimetres further up the bed, “their sheriff’s crippled- how does that help public morale?”
“It doesn’t- but it may make people feel empathetic to you” the deputy responds, his explanation scoffed at by West, whose wife holds his undamaged hand within her own. “I know you don’t care about that, but for the unit-” the officer begins, only angering the sheriff further, his temperament skewed. “Get the fuck out, deputy” West interjects, his head jerking forward, ushering the officer to his room’s exit.
Left with little other choice, the officer bows his head and turns away, stepping through the exit as Montes begins to follow. “Not you, Montes- you stay” West exclaims, watching the young officer turn back with a confused look on his face, “you’re just about the only uniform I can tolerate right now.”
Though honoured, Montes remains anxious, his hand running through his hair as he readjusts his cap, reclaiming a seat to the room’s side. “The cruiser- what’d you find on it?” West queries, again struggling to push himself into a seat, ignoring his wife’s request for him not to. “Nothing, sheriff” Montes replies, his superior’s pain-ridden expression turning to one of astonishment.
“Wh-!? How the fuck is that possible!?” West shouts, wincing in pain as the words leave his lips, the aches in his chest forcing him to settle down. “I don’t- I have no clue, sir” Montes replies, though sharing in the sheriff’s displeasure, his fixation resides upon the indescribable details. “The car was completely unharmed, you look like you were in a train crash, and we’ve heard nothing from the kids- not a peep” Montes remarks, “this- it just- it doesn’t add up.”
Breathing deeply as he finally sets into a seated position, West turns his head toward Montes, a reluctant look held in his face. Refusing to speak, West looks toward the door, thinking quietly to himself before looking his wife in the eyes. “Honey, get yourselves something to eat at the cafeteria, alright?” West asks, his partner’s lips pressing against his cheek as she takes their son's hand into her own, aware of what her husband was really requesting.
Though not asked to, West’s spouse shuts the door behind her, leaving only her husband and his inexperienced confidant left to secrecy. “You need to promise that you won’t say this to anyone” West urges, Montes’ eyes widening with this notice, his chest tightening under the possibilities of what ‘this’ is. “It’s going to make me sound crazy, but it won’t be the strangest part of this investigation” West clarifies, “and, of all the people in the station, you- somehow- might believe me.”
Beginning to perceive this admission as less of a personal matter and more of an olive branch, one extended in hopes of finding trustful hands to claim it. “What if it helps the case?” Montes challenges, wanting to square away any questions prior to the expected revelation, “if- whatever it is- fits into a hole we don’t have an answer to?”
“Then make it clear that I’m not on drugs or delusional before you say it” West quickly replies, his patience stretched toward its limits. “Then yeah- I promise” Montes responds, though slightly eager to prove his worth to the sheriff, understands the gravity such a confession is made with. His aversion still present, though it wavers, West leans closer to his subordinate, his voice kept to a minimum.
“I don’t think the guy that did this is human” West remarks, watching Montes face immediately scrunch, his eyes narrowing. “Um- okay?” the officer replies, unsure of what to think, how to respond, or if West is playing a joke on him. “I know, you think I’m making this up, and I’m sure I sound insane- I get it” the sheriff clarifies, saying whatever he can to dissuade Montes from mistaking the declaration for humour.
“Are you implying he was a monster?” Montes asks, speaking through the head shake West answers with, “what do you mean?” His left hand grasping as his broken ribs, West’s right hand pushes gently into the end of the mattress, grimacing through the pain as he pauses. “He- listen- he threw me into the air with his hand” West proclaims, continuing to speak for as long as Montes sits silently.
“He looked at me, he waved his hand at me, and I just-” West pauses, both collecting his thoughts and his breath, “-I just remember flying. It was like every breath I had was just gone.” With ironic timing, Montes takes in a deep breath, holding it as West continues, still uncertain if the encounter is one long, well-acted gag.
“I hit my head, and I rolled, and I stopped, and I was in pain” West details, the rest of the skirmish growing fuzzy. “I remember getting to the car, and passing out. That’s it, but I know-” West continues, another pause taken to refill his lungs, “-I know what I saw.” The air still, Montes keeps his eyes on West, conflicted on whether to believe what he’s been told, or even if he wants to understand.
Finally exhaling, Montes leans back in his seat, both arms falling upon the sides of his chair, processing West’s avowal. “You don’t have to believe me, I’m not asking you to- I just want you to keep that in mind” West adds, the obvious look of scepticism in Montes’ reaction building an upward battle closer toward the sky, “if something doesn’t make sense, or if there’s gap in reasoning- use it to fill in the blanks, then you’ll know for sure.”
Speechless, Montes takes with him West’s story, the need to separate himself from the sheriff becoming apparent. Without a word, the deputy removes himself from the chair, slowly stepping out of the room, and returning to his duties as normal. Lips puckered in a frown, West shakes his head, slowly laying back into his seat, “I may have to give those alien nutjobs more benefit of the doubt” he murmurs beneath his breath, left with his thoughts.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“Girls, I’m not sure what to tell you” Esotera replies, walking beside Scarlett and Vic as they patrol the eternal office’s bountiful depths, “the realm has secrets just as any other being does.” Her service weapon glowing a bright, vibrant blue, Vic tags a ghoul as it rounds the corner, her aim worthy of the description ‘impeccable’.
“Well, when are we gonna get the chance to find them?” Vic inquires, the trio descending upon a staircase built in brutalist fashion. “Whenever the realm stops trying to kill us” Scarlett responds, her changed hair colour having travelled with her to the realm beyond, “-which, I guess, is right now.”
“I’ll leave the two of you to it” Esotera proclaims, vanishing with a snap, the territory’s mortal inhabitants left to fend for themselves. After a few metres walked and a few charges fired, the girls enter a directory, its floors chiselled from granite, a staircase wrapping around each drastically spaced-apart wall. “This place is a damn fine place to start” Scarlett murmurs, the open drop that sits between each wall housing a bonsai tree, its branches reaching infinitely high.
“Why haven’t we seen this place before?” Vic wonders aloud, peering over the staircase’s edge and toward an infinite drop, the floor’s existence impossible in their common world. “Because this place is a tower and a maze put together that never ends” Scarlett replies, peering through the open windows of unmarked offices, each room as empty as the last.
Fascinated by the capacious anomaly, Vic forces herself toward the task at hand, returning to Scarlett’s side as the woman navigates the floor. No legible signs to read, nor people to ask directions from, Scarlett allows fate to make the decision on her behalf, choosing a workroom at random and beginning from there. “Let me know if you find anything” Scarlett urges, the girls splitting apart with sights set on covering whatever ground manageable.
The commodious foyer now more empty than before, Vic stands alone, surrounded by architecture crafted by the force of reality’s need to bend rules at nauseum. Each office appearing, on the outside, just as unimportant as those they accompany, Vic settles on sharing Scarlett’s approach, her eyes setting upon one space in particular with little reason behind the decision.
The room she enters dark and uninspired, Vic’s service weapon reemerges from the air’s thin vail, the variegated light that fades out and returns stronger dying the room a wondrous blue. Though the room is now lit, Vic’s destination endures her efforts, remaining concealed beneath the guise of uncertainty. “How the fuck do I even do this?” Vic mutters beneath her breath, as unsure of where to begin her journey as she is unsure of where it’s meant to end.
Waving her firearm at anything not built into the office itself, Vic finds little more than notes with illegible scribbles and picture frames stocked with blurry, colourless photos. The drawers of each desk empty, the furniture in each room a drab grey and untouched, and each accessory of personal feature indistinguishable from anything else she’d come across, Vic remains unsuccessful in her search.
Soon, rows of small, efficient and private offices are cleared with little more than slightly-adjusted couch cushions and scattered pieces of loose leaf paper to show for it. Her spirits quickly faltering, Vic finds herself eight floors above where she’d began her travels, as empty handed as when she’d began walking. Her disappointment having turned to frustration, Vic exits a final office before throwing herself- back first- to the floor.
Covering her face with the palms of her empty hands, Vic reconsiders her approach, feeling drawn to the belief that a better, more-suitable option is possible. “Oh honey” a soft, compassionate voice remarks, Vic’s hands pulling away from her blush-filled face. Her eyes widened, Vic sits up, turning back to the voice that beckons her attention.
“You can’t lose focus now, not after all you’ve done to get here” the voice urges, its face as blurry as the homogeneous photographs aligning every office wall. “Who- what-?” Vic replies, treating the seemingly-empathetic spirit to a warmth-deprived reaction. “You’re looking for answers, but you’re not asking for them” the fuzzy voice explains, its words becoming slightly distorted, muffled as if spoken through a cheap radio.
“What are you talking about?” Vic shouts, slowly stepping closer to the figure, its phantom-like appearance unable to discourage her advancement. “You have its ear” the voice whispers, the realm that surrounds Vic quickly growing as obscure as the voice that calls to her. “Victoria” the voice sighs, the distance between herself and the wandering inhabitant vanishing within a moment, her blurry lips sitting just beside Vic’s ear.
“You shall guide this realm” the voice sighs, its lips grazing Vic’s ear in a final moment before vanishing, the world’s hazy picture clearing in an instant. Pulling her head back, Vic awakens from her profound daze in the middle of yet another generic, uninhabited office, the blue light of her weapon held steadily over a portrait as featureless as the rest. The hairs on her arm raised, Vic refuses to move, a curious, yet unavoidable, desire telling her to freeze.
Giving into her bewildered mind’s impulse, Vic turns herself into a statue, each muscle, ligament, tendon and bone in her body temporarily immobilised. Turning her head as far as possible, Vic’s guard begins to lower, her body beginning to accept movement once more, the hand her weapon resides within, however, remaining suspended above the portrait.
Left with nothing else to make sense of, Vic stares into the obscure picture, her free hand resting at the bottom of its frame. “You have its ear” Vic whispers to herself, gazing back to the empty room, nothing peaking her interest anymore than the snapshot she stands before. “Is this picture of importance to you?” Vic asks aloud, undecided on what sort of answer she anticipates.
Waiting for a voice, sight, or altercation to greet her, Vic nearly misses the glow of her weapon increase, its blue light doubling its radiance, the answer seemingly offered. Waving the unconventional lantern over the picture, Vic notices no difference in appearance, its faded and unremarkable illustration unchanged. Her patience dwindling, Vic begins to press into the canvas as if it were the screen of a phone, the presses becoming pokes, which become smacks, which become punches.
“What the fuck am I supposed to do!?” Vic exclaims, her spaced-apart punches growing more rapid, increasing in intensity as her screams heighten, “what the fuck do I do!?” Her dissimilarity from Scarlett lessening with each unprovoked strike, Vic gives into her aggravation, wrapping her free hand around the portraits frame and ripping it from the wall.
Pulling her arm back, Vic strips the picture from the wall, her existence halted the moment the its wooden frame disconnects from the nail that had held it in place. Faster than the blink of an eye, Vic vanishes into thin air, the portrait she’d captured left to fall, frame shattering as the floor interrupts its descent.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“It has your ear” the voice whispers, the realm that surrounds Scarlett quickly growing as obscure as the voice that calls to her. “Scarlett” the voice sighs, the distance between herself and the wandering inhabitant vanishing within a moment, her blurry lips sitting just beside the traveller’s ear.
“This realm shall guide you” the voice sighs, its lips grazing Scarlett’s ear in a final moment before vanishing, the world’s hazy picture clearing in an instant. Pulling her head back, Scarlett awakens from her profound daze in the middle of yet another generic, uninhabited office, the red light of her weapon held steadily over the door to a closet that, unlike any room she’d entered prior, sits beside the plain wooden desk.
“-The fuck?” Scarlett grumbles, stepping away from the unmarked entrance, the endless hallway just beyond the room’s entrance she’d navigated prior welcoming her back. “Hey!” Scarlett exclaims, calling out to the spectre that set out to lead her off track. “Where the fuck are you!? get back here!”
Her challenge unanswered, Scarlett is left in the open, her words echoing upward, propelled into oblivion. “Whatever the fuck that was, it was not-fucking-cool!” Scarlett shouts, more angered at the apparition for toying with her mind than leading her astray. With a grunt, Scarlett shakes her head, the eyes she wields inevitably steered toward the untagged closet.
Biting into her lip, Scarlett marches back into the office, refusing to consider what may reside beyond the blank entrance as she extends her hand, pushing the boundary open and stepping inside. With a gust of air, Scarlett enters an unimposing sanctum drenched in the sightless guise of darkness, the door she’d stepped to no longer existing. “Hello!?” Scarlett exclaims, the sound of her voice triggering a massive spotlight, its illumination aimed directly at her eyes.
Covering her face, Scarlett shields herself from the blinding luminosity, a few seconds passing before her arms begin to lower. Surrounding her in each direction, a tent adorned with red and white pinstripes covers the sky, the carpet she once stepped upon traded in for sand. The office left behind, Scarlett stands in the centre of a carnival ground, the rows of seats circled around the venue empty, unoccupied by even the most empty of faces.
Opening her mouth, Scarlett attempts to speak, though the words to bring explanation to such an outlandish scene appear nonexistent. “We’re all just pawns” a disembodied voice sings, its tune purposefully haunting, mellow and relaxed in an uneasy manner. Before long, the voice receives its personality, a woman with no facial features aside from a mouth commanding her attention.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the woman sings, repeating the line louder, each time more vicious than the last. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghost remarks for a fourth time, her somewhat innocent cheer becoming increasingly deceiving the longer it persists. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghost sings for a fifth time, her lack of eyesight making her unaware of the service weapon Scarlett unleashes.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghoul chants for a sixth time, switching her tune to a soft, hauntingly beautiful hum just as Scarlett’s finger grazes the trigger. “But you- will never- be seated- upon- the throne” the creature of unexplainable origins interrupts, Scarlett’s intentions thwarted, the declaration catching her by surprise.
“Wh- what did you just s-?” Scarlett interrupts, the barrel of her weapon lowering from the figment’s head, her question disregarded as the chant is rekindled. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the heathen restarts, her voice drowned beneath the weight of a crowd, their voices one million damned souls strong, all repeating the line in unison, not one being out of tune from another.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the crowd roars, forcing Scarlett to her knees, hands pressed against each side of her head. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the chants intensify, the collective voices wielding the power of one thousand thunderstorms, all rumbling at once around Scarlett’s head, squeezing her skull with incredible might.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the lines are repeated, the crowd composed only of the same lost souls Suzie had spoken of, trapped in their dimensional hell all the same. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the crowd repeats, Scarlett’s wails of pain, the likes of which able to find measurement upon the Richter scale, submerged beneath the mob.
“You-” the crowd shouts, Scarlett’s heartbeat aligning with each roar.
“Control-” the horde roars, Scarlett’s every grunt emitting a sound wave.
“The dead-” the throng screams, Scarlett’s teeth clenching with inseparable force.
“That run-” the flock bellows, Scarlett’s hands pressing against the sides of her head with pressure mightier than the mythical strength of Zeus.
“The board!” the legion howls, Scarlett’s once-pressed eyelids suddenly parting, her brown irises having turned a bright, bloody, rich shade of red.
“SSSIIILLLEEENNNCCCEEE!” Scarlett screams, the impact of her voice turning the carnival tent to dust, its contact liquidating the sand, and its collision grounding each unoccupied chair into a rubbery paste. Huffing and puffing as if she were the big, bad wolf itself, Scarlett gazes back to the gathered swarm, the once raucous fiends obeying her command.
Standing upright, Scarlett remains the legion’s centre of attention, her presence the display’s main attraction. The pinstriped curtains gone just as the seats, sand, spotlight and vibrancy are, all that surrounds the red-eyed realm-leaper is an empty, black void.
Confused, Scarlett spins around, the faceless woman the command was once held within remains exactly where last stood, not a sight beyond those that accompany her to be found. With a collective thud, the legion reclaims Scarlett’s attention, the young woman turning back to find those that had tormented, badgered and provoked her into retaliation now kneel to her.
“All hail the king!” the crowd shouts.
“All hail the king!” the horde roars.
“All hail the king!” the throng screams.
“All hail the king!” the flock bellows.
“All hail the king!” the legion howls.
“All hail the king!” they praise.
Pressing her hand upon Scarlett’s shoulder, the army’s faceless director pauses, allowing the chant to ensue. “We will guide you to the throne” the empty-faced ghoul promises, her devotion only further enraging their chosen king. Nostrils flaring, Scarlett looks the woman in the face, her rage setting in once more as she spins around, her open hand reaching for the woman’s throat as she lunges forward.
== Dream Sequence ==
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 24 Hours Earlier /
His clean-shaven upper lip resting upon the rim of a foam coffee cup, Sheriff West stares intently at a jumble of photographs, reports and results sprawled across his relatively small workspace. “Something has to line up” West murmurs to himself, such confident words spoken with such great pressures of defeat, as if the hope for said truth is present, but the expectation is not.
A stack of crime scene photos pressed between the thumb and index finger of his right hand, West shuffles through one image after another, each time pressing his face closer toward the glossy finish. “Sheriff?” a young voice inquires, his knuckles pressing against West’s door frame. His concentration disrupted, West lets the photo fall from his hands, answering the officer at his door with a sigh, “what do you want?” West questions in a disgruntled tone.
The callous response catching him off guard, the young officer struggles to speak,his words evading him just as easily as his thoughts do. “Spit it out, son- what do you need?” West gestures, trying to redirect the man’s mind toward the thought he’d entered with. “I- uh-” the young officer begins to speak, his sparse pauses not aiding in the conversation’s progression.
“I- uh- get on with it” West urges, his impatience only matched for his dislike of muddled-thought. “The- the plane- the one you told us to monitor?” the young officer replies, prompted to finish the sentence when met with West’s silent anticipation, “-it crashed.” Though his expression goes unchanged, West’s mind begins to dissect this news, his eyes fluttering from one side of the room to another.
“The one with the girls?” West clarifies, his question responded to with a short nod, the young officer’s hands coupling by his lap, watching the evolution of West’s reaction. Slowly, West reaches for his foam cup, another swig from the disposable vessel preceding the lean he takes in his chair, back pressing against his chair’s hardwood spindles.
As his arms cross, West makes further inquiries, the hairs on the back of his neck standing with each question. “Are there any survivors?” West wonders aloud, able to predict the answer at the lone countenance on the callow policeman. “I don’t- no. No, they don’t think so” the officer stumbles, his badge reflecting the harsh ceiling light, “they found some big chunks of- of debris on the- coast of Sri Lanka.”
Steadily, the air leaves West’s lungs, his collected demeanour hiding the true feelings he holds toward the news. “Well- that’s unfortunate” West replies, his top two teeth pressing into the softest part of his bottom lip, “thank you for telling me officer- what’s your name?”
“Tobias- er, Montes- Tobias Montes” the unproven officer stammers, the first impressions he makes leaving much room for improvement. “Thank you, Officer Montes” West comments, allowing the conversation to run its natural course, “please, close the door on your way out.” As instructed, Montes steps out the way he’d arrived, the thick, wooden entry quietly shut behind him.
Shaking his head, West lets out another sigh, repeatedly pressing his eyes together as he wipes his mind of the girls’ fate, focus returned to the evidence atop his desk. “There’s something here” West whispers to himself, leaning over his desk once more, the first photo from the top of a pile collected into his hand. “There has to be something here” he repeats beneath his breath, a picture of undisturbed grass beneath a yellow police marker commanding his attention.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 21 Hours Earlier /
“Why aren’t you in school?” Rachel wonders aloud, walking from her front door to the kitchen as Jared follows, his hair coated in a light layer of sweat. “I could ask you the same thing” Jared replies, his shoes tracking dirt across the hardwood floors. “My parents like being paranoid- that’s why” Rachel responds, unscrewing the lid to a carton of cheese puffs, “what’s your excuse?”
Stepping aside to let Rachel pass, Jared continues to follow as he answers, “I wanted the day off and my parents were fine with it.” Unable to hold back a brief chuckle, Rachel nods her head, beginning the ascent toward her room on the floor above ground level. “That makes sense” the woman quips, the carton of junk food swinging by her side as she climbs higher, “you’re surrounded by people that let you get away with whatever you want- I’m not surprised.”
Taking offence the way Rachel intended for him to, Jared replies with equal cavil. “Ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black” the home’s guest mutters, provoking Rachel to turn toward his direction upon reaching the top of the stairs. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Rachel queries, her eyes squinting in the young man’s direction, his statement too open-ended to make a fair assessment of.
“Look at where you live, Ms. Suburbia” Jared retorts, jutting his chin toward the staircase across the hall from them, its travels leading those who wander it toward a third story. “My mom’s a drunk and we live in the projects- at least there’s a reason I get away with whatever I want” Jared replies, self-aware to a point, “what’s your excuse?”
“What does where you live have to do with getting what you want?” Rachel inquires, watching Jared’s shadow-covered eyes roll. “Because proper parenting isn’t exactly priority number one where I come from” the young man responds, following Rachel toward the second staircase. “So what? You get an excuse to cheat on Scarlett? Or maybe to treat everyone you meet like shit?” Rachel argues back, again finding her argument countered.
“No, I’m saying that- of all the people that can call me out without being a hypocrite- you’re at the bottom of that list” Jared replies, Rachel continuing to walk away with her head shaking. “Whatever. Why are you here?” the woman wonders aloud, beginning her climb to next floor, her guest continuing to follow. “Because I got this” Jared answers, he and Rachel stopping halfway up the steps, a folded note with his name written, poorly and spelled with an extra ‘r’ atop.
“What is that?” Rachel responds, setting her tub of snacks on the next step higher, her hands wiped against her pants before claiming the letter. Quietly, Rachel unfolds the note, needing a few moments to correctly decipher the poor handwriting. “When did you get this?” Rachel wonders aloud, finally reaching the epistle’s conclusion before feeling the urge to read it a second time.
“Last night. It was stuffed in my backpack- in one of those little sleeves on the side” Jared responds, allowing Rachel to skim the note once more as he retrieves his phone. “Do you know who sent it?” Rachel responds, lowering the note to her side as Jared answers, shuffling through pictures he’d saved on his camera. “No- I don’t even know how they got it in my bag!” Jared proclaims, finally settling on the photo he’d set out for.
“Look familiar?” Jared queries, the picture he’d landed upon bringing a widening over Rachel’s eyes, her second glance at the letter revealing a troublesome discovery. “It’s the same-fucking-font” Jared declares, the graffiti referring to Scarlett and Vic from the school’s lot providing a perfectly copy to that in his note.
Pulling in a deep breath, Rachel returns the note, the heavy inhale carried with her as she climbs the remaining stairs, her tub of junk left behind. “I know it could just be a sick prank, but what if it isn’t?” Jared questions, again following the woman’s ascent. “If it isn’t, we’re kind of screwed, aren’t we?” Rachel responds, turning for the nearest bathroom with such eagerness that her shoulder slams into the drywall.
“That’s it? If it’s a prank- Great! If it’s not- we’re dead, oh well?” Jared responds, watching Rachel hunch over the sink, the cold water faucet spun as far as it can manage. “What other choice do we have!?” Rachel calls back, a handful of water caught in her palms, the sides of her hands pressed together. “Well gee, I guess I’d hope for one that doesn’t involve us being murdered- is that a good start?” Jared sarcastically responds, waiting for Rachel to finish from the hallway.
Submerging her face in the small pool gathered in her mitts, Rachel lets the water run down her chin, loose drops dampening her shirt’s collar. Repeating the process, Rachel presses her eyes together, the discussion put on hold for the time being. Her sudden ailment settling, Rachel reaches aimlessly for the cabinet, her eyes still closed as it glides just centimetres away from her face.
Unscrewing the child-proof cap on an orange bottle of paroxetine, Rachel fills her hand with another scoop of water and takes back two ovular, yellow pills. With an audible sigh, Rachel opens her eyes, able to feel the water accompany the pills down her throat, her worries comforted slightly for the moment.
“I don’t know what more you- AH!” Rachel begins to reply, closing the vanity above her sink just in time to find an unfamiliar face staring at her with a horrifyingly joyous smile. Throwing herself into the bathroom corner, Rachel stares at the bathtub the tall, imposing figure had stood, the curtain pulled back completely, Jared quickly storming beyond the doorway.
Swiping at the nylon curtain, Jared discovers nothing more than an empty tub, the muscular body in a tight, long-sleeved black shirt nowhere to be found. “He- he- he was- he-” Rachel screams, unable to prevent herself from hyperventilating, her index finger extended toward the empty shower. “It’s alright, it’s alright!” Jared proclaims, disregarding the curious scene in favour of kneeling beside the kindred spirit, “hey- hey- it’s okay- it’s okay!”
His left hand resting on Rachel’s shoulder whilst his right rests on the kneecap of her bent right leg, Jared’s words are spoken softer with each attempt, gently guiding Rachel down from her terrorised high. “He was there- he was right there!” Rachel whimpers, her eyes filled with tears as she slouches into the corner, both hands covering her mouth and nose, shielding her from the danger she’s certain she’d seen.
“I believe you, I believe you!” Jared insists, unsure as to whether or not what he says is true, his only focus set on providing whatever comfort he can manage. “Just breathe, I’m right here- I need you to breathe” Jared urges, his hand moving away from her knee in favour of her arm, his palm slowly sliding to her hand, their palms coming together.
As instructed, Rachel begins to take in deep breaths, her eyes pressing closed with great force, holding worry that the haunting face will return upon their separation. Steadily, Rachel simmers down, her breaths returning to a relative normal, eyes still closed out of a misplaced sense of self-protection. “Look at me, Rach” Jared petitions, his voice composed and unencumbered, the safety Rachel internally begs for provided through the compassion in Jared’s voice.
“Can you look at me?” Jared requests, holding back concern that Rachel’s hatred of him could undo the progress they’d made, forced to step on metaphorical egg shells. Able to hold breaths in without her lungs forcing them away, Rachel begins to part her eyes, the empty bathtub the first thing she sees, the cautious optimism in Jared’s expression the second.
Eased from her emotional strangulation, Rachel regains her wits, not forgetting the great dislike she has for Jared, but rather choosing to put it aside out of appreciation for his assistance. “Thank you” Rachel quietly utters, Jared’s response coming not in words, but in the form of a subtle nod.
Once content with Rachel’s condition, Jared pulls away, both worrying about an overstay of his welcome and interested in what brought upon such incredible fears. Peering into the tub, very little is left to see, an empty porcelain cask with little personality all that resides behind the thin, flimsy curtain. “I don’t-” Jared begins to remark, a single glance toward the ground halting his proclamation instantly.
“What?” Rachel questions, ripping a few strips of toilet paper from the nearby roll, wiping her puffy, red eyes and mucus-filled nose. Yet to answer, Jared reaches into the bath, a letter left behind face-up, aligned perfectly with the mat that covers the bathtub’s floor. “You definitely saw something” Jared replies, the envelope held between his index and middle fingers, Rachel’s name written in equally poor handwriting, spelled with an extra ‘l’ at the end.
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 20 Hours Earlier /
Stood near a drop only a few metres above a small creek, West stares with disgrace at the calm waters below, the desire to throw up nearly unavoidable. Momentarily unable to speak, West watches a fellow officer approach in silence, a transparent bag held within his grasp. “They didn’t make it hard to find” the officer remarks, West’s arms crossed as he watches the deputy approach, his repulsed visage yet to ease.
“Yeah, I’d say so” West soberly replies, a bloody, needle-point knife laying within the pouch. “Do we have I.D?” West calls out, opening the field to whatever answers can be offered. “Kris Shaffer, sixteen years old, lives in a town right outside of Prairieville” Montes responds, stepping away from the coroners to join the sheriff.
His arms crossed, West lets the air go quiet for a moment, reluctant to ask the question he knows is necessary. “Is he connected to the girls in any way?” West inquires, holding out the small amount of hope that the answer can surprise him. “I don’t know about that specifically-” Montes responds, pausing in a manner that leads West to expect an unfavourable addition, “-but they did attend the same school.”
His revulsion to the scene twisted into a deep-rooted anger, West turns away, both Montes and the second deputy following their superior to his car. “And all we have to show for it is some taunting scribble and a bloody-fucking-knife” West mumbles beneath his breath, each step pressed into the soft, muddy ground with more force than the one before.
“Is it still off the table to call this guy a serial killer?” the second officer inquires, aware of the wrath he draws from West upon the sheriff’s sudden stop. “Go bag more shit or I’ll have your badge on my desk by the end of the day” West demands, only Montes continuing to follow him from this point forward. “Sir, may I suggest a theory?” Montes worriedly inquires, unsure of whether or not the smallest move out of place could cost him his employment.
“Does your theory make sense?- Are there obvious holes I can poke into it?” West responds, unlocking the doors to his cruiser. “With all due respect, sir- the crime itself doesn’t make sense” Montes replies, prompting West to turn back, looking Montes in the eyes as he continues. “There’s a kid lying in the creek with thirty-something stab wounds, signs of a struggle, and only his own set of footprints” Montes specifies, “I don’t really know if anything about this is hole poke-impenetrable.”
Though dissatisfied with the response, West respects the honesty it’s presented with. “Get in the passenger’s side” West orders, lifting a dart from a pack and lighting it, refusing to let their logic-defying killer prevent him from enjoying a smoke. “Is there a chance someone other than Rachel knows about the girls being alive?” Montes inquires, waiting for West to respond, his senior letting the question settle.
“Continue” West remarks, blowing a cloud of tobacco smoke into his windshield, the greenlight the rookie had hoped for having arrived. “Maybe we’re working off the wrong idea- maybe this isn’t a revenge mission” Montes implies, his elbow pressing into the vehicle’s centre console, “maybe they’re provoking the girls to draw them out.”
“That doesn’t much explain the lack of footprints, or fingerprints, or any prints” West replies, a frown and shrug returned. “Well, if we’re being fair- nothing does” Montes retorts, the pair locking eyes as the younger man continues, “but if his motives are to drive the girls out of hiding, his motives could be targeted at anything- even us.”
With a squint, West peers back toward his windshield, the rainy, muggy woodlands he parks within offering a sight drearier than Prairieville itself. “Are you saying that the girls are just a front to expose the cover up?” West inquires, Montes’ lips puckering as he nods, disappointed to confirm such suspicions. His eyes widening, West sinks into his seat, his fingers flicking the dart into a boggy puddle.
“In that case, they won’t stop killing until we find them” West responds, a genuine fear breaking through his tough facade. Reaching for the radio, West calls into his station, hurriedly awaiting a response. “What are you doing?” Montes questions, the sudden change in priority his superior presents catching him by surprise.
“We need to get ahead of this-” West replies, again calling for a response from his department, “-tell people about the plane before someone else gets killed.” His judgement less clouded than the elected sheriff, Montes proves his worth, calling the man’s assumptions into question. “If this guy is coming after us for the cover up, why would he believe us now?” Montes queries, watching West turn to look him in the eyes.
“Fuck- you’re right” West murmurs, ignoring the response he finally earns from the second end, returning the radio to its receiver. “And- while I don’t want to discredit myself now that I’ve done something useful- I could still be wrong” Montes reiterates, West’s attention held firmly within his control, “this could all be some empty, angry, spiteful attempt at violent revenge.”
Though the suggestion remains only a theory, the illusion of progress prompts West’s heart to beat, the evidence they have lacking such depth that anything positive feels like progress. “Alright, if-” West begins to speak, his sentence interrupted by the sound of a second, unexpected vehicle’s approach.
“Hey, this is an active crime scene!” West exclaims, quickly removing himself from the cruiser, his hands waving high over his head. Disregarding the warning given to them, Rachel and Jared remove themselves from the sedan, their eyes set on the mass of uniformed cops beyond the bog.
“Hey! Get back in your car, kids!” West exclaims, Rachel continues to walk until a barrage of officers hurry up to her, blocking her from approaching the body any further. “Rachel, come here” Jared commands, remaining in the woman’s good graces just enough for her to do as told. “Is there a body down there!?” Jared shouts, his focus having shifted to the sheriff, West’s hands extended toward the younger man, hand on his taser with hopes of not having to use it.
The officers that reside close to the corpse turning in the direction of the altercation, only West interacts with the young trespassers. “Kids, you’re not authorised to-” West begins to repeat, he and the rest of his unit silenced the moment Jared interrupts. “Kris Shaffer- Scarlett’s friend from the fifth grade” Jared yells, taking West’s silence as clearance to speak further, “is he lying in that creek, face down, with thirty-seven stab wounds!?”
His lip quivering, West loses the power of speech, entirely uncertain of how to react. The note pressed between his index and middle fingers raised into the air, presented to the sheriff. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’” Jared remarks, tossing the semi-open envelope into the dirt just beyond West’s feet, “go ahead- read it. Courtesy of your killer.”
Releasing the firearm from his holster, Montes prepares to hold Jared at gunpoint, West’s hand immediately pushing the rookie’s gun away. Having his reasons for not being suspicious of either teen, West reaches toward the ground, taking the note from its packet, the handwriting all too similar to what he’s seen before.
“Kris Shaffer, 16, stabbed 37X” the note’s opening lines read, the deranged scrawlings perused quietly to West’s self. “The two of you are different from the rest- you’re all pawns- yes, but I play differently with you” the penultimate line reads, “the rest set the board- but the two of you will bring me the throne. It’s your turn- now win me the game.”
His mouth agape, West continues to baffle his squad, trusting enough of Montes to leave the note with him. “We’re next” Jared remarks, Rachel separating from the human barricade of officers between her and the body, joining beside the man she once despised. A look of horror on his face, West looks to Jared, his eyes unable to pull away from the targeted pair, “yes- you are” West mutters beneath his breath, his prior concerns only elevated.
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 9 Hours Earlier /
“We’ll be there intermittently” West responds, the radio handset returned to its holster, his left hand wrapped firmly around the steering wheel. “How did you know?” Jared inquires, his voice frail and hurt, a drastic contrast from the anger he’d displayed hours earlier. “How did I know what?” West queries, the hardened demeanour he’d given the pair in days past no longer found.
“The plane-” Jared reiterates, West turning to look him in the eyes, allowing him to finish, “how did you know they were on it?” Frowning, West peers into the rear-view mirror, Rachel having laid down in the backseat with wishes to fall asleep, though remaining unable to find such slumber. “I had officers follow them to the airport” West confesses, his tone quiet and bleak, “they saw where they were going and what plane they got on- then we saw it on the news.”
Pressing his hand against his mouth, Jared leans against the door, his eyes taking to the cloudy skies, night having brought with it the dread of another passing day. “And it was all- for what?” Rachel inquires, her arm crossed beneath her head, used as an impromptu pillow, “what was it for?”
Looking at the woman through his rear-view mirror, West feels the judgement, despite Rachel’s voice remaining hushed and tired, behind the question. “For- ffoorr-” West begins, at first preparing to defend his actions, though his conscience quickly intervenes, surrendering his mind to the truth, “-for nothing.”
His monotone reflection barely loud enough to overtake the sound of raindrops colliding with his windows and roof, West comes clean, no longer able to hide behind outright denial. Thinking quietly to himself, West’s eyes remain set upon Rachel, the expression of a young woman mourning a friend lost too soon bringing a cold rush of air down his spine.
“I was trying to save my unit’s reputation- and I did it at their expense” West concedes, keeping his eyes on the girl through the mirror, “I was the reason they were on that plane.” Her expression as saddened and broken as it can manage, Rachel remains laid upon the backseat, her eyes, too, set upon West through the mirror.
“Then I hate you” Rachel responds calmly, a displeased, yet understanding look worn on West’s face. “I hate you for being selfish. I hate you for getting my best friend killed” Rachel persists, West’s refusal to stop her only fueling her need to continue speaking, her tone never rising from one of calm, composed confidence.
“I hate you for being a terrible person, and I hate you for being worthless” Rachel furthers, a single tear falling from the corner of her eye as she finishes, “when you die, I hope there’s a spot in hell reserved for you- and even then, I’ll still hate you.”
Though his cruiser’s interior is dark, a light from above the back exit to a sandwich shop shines through the back-most windows, its orange glow falling upon Rachel’s face. “I know” West finally replies, unwilling to argue his side, aware that no amount of sway can make due for his moral shortcomings. Turning his key in the ignition, West prepares the car for its departure, the safehouse he’d insisted be prepared ensuring the alley he’d parked in is redundant.
Closing her eyes, Rachel attempts to sleep through the ride, the feelings that had wrapped around her mind with incredible grip voiced as best as manageable. “Killers like these always slip us somewhere- I have to believe that” West explains, preaching to a choir of two young adults that already know this, “whatever ‘normal’ means for the two of you, it’ll-”
Pressing his foot upon the break, West drags his tires along the asphalt, his bright headlights illuminating the tall physique of a man that stands in his way, purposefully rounding the corner and halting his progress. The base of his palm slamming into the horn, West signals for the man to step aside, the trench coat’s hood obstructing the stranger’s face.
“Move!” West shouts, his passengers no more than slightly disturbed, Jared watching the figure with curiosity whilst Rachel pays no mind to it, assuming it to be of little interest. “What the fuck is this crackhead trying to pull, damnit!?” West exclaims, throwing the car into park and exiting the vehicle, right hand resting upon his handgun’s grip. “Can I help you with something!?” West inquires, the unacquainted man slowly removing the hood from his bald head.
“Not really-” the brawny resident replies, turning his face toward the cruiser, his voice too low for the teens to hear, “-but they can.”
“What the hell is he doing?” Rachel frustratedly quips, sitting rightside up and peering through the partition, her eyes widening immediately. “Ja- Jared!” Rachel frantically calls, the hands she’d pressed against the plexiglass shaking from pure fear, “that’s the guy! That’s the guy!”
Seeing the horror in Rachel’s eyes, Jared glances back toward the man, his eyes meeting Rachel’s tormentor, only one thought running through Jared’s mind. “WEST!” Jared exclaims, the sheriff having left his door open, not expecting the confrontation to turn sour. Though muffled, West hears the scream emerge from Jared’s side of the car, only able to take the attempted warning as a sign of danger.
Without a second thought, West removes the pistol from his belt, the barrel pointed toward the tall man’s head just one second too late. Fingers spread apart, the tall stranger pushes his hand forward, the only defence needed to thwart West’s effort. As if struck by an invisible bus, West’s feet leave the ground, the gun falling to the asphalt as he soars through the air.
Only able to act on his impulses, Jared climbs into the driver’s seat, slamming the door shut as Rachel shouts, pleading with the man she’d once considered an enemy to save the night. Shifting out of park, Jared slams his foot into the gas, the engine roaring as the pedal hits the floor, though the car refuses to budge.
Silent, the large man stands idle, watching the tires scream against the ground to no avail, the vehicle refusing to move. Whilst West writhes in pain near the end of the alley, the unnamed anomaly plays with the teens as if they were prey, calculating his next move as if they were an unsolved equation. Glancing toward the opposite side of the street, the brute solves the formula and sets the wheels in motion, releasing the vehicle from the standstill of his doing.
Suddenly tearing through the alley, Jared attempts to slam into the large figure, his tattered clothes lit brightly as the vehicle approaches. Within a moment, the tall figure vanishes, narrowly evading the cruiser that now reaches speeds too great for Jared to handle. As if called into action, the figure reemerges in the half-empty backseat, his presence freezing Rachel in a state of extraordinary awe.
“This is the fun part” the man whispers, throwing his hand toward the ground just as the car reaches the road’s opposite side, a large row of homes having become an improvisational crashpad. The concrete structures caving in as the vehicle slams through their collective front doors, what once stood as single-family homes now stands as a pile of rubble, clouds of dust and broken stone clouding the craterous impact zone.
“And that’s why” the man murmurs, his audience now unconscious, a bright blue, spherical shield having saved the vehicle's occupants from certain death. Completely unharmed, the large figure stares at Jared, the man’s body laid out across both front seats, Rachel’s head laid upon his lap. Removing the protective orb from the vehicle, the man removes the bulletproof partition with absolute ease, superhuman strength contained within the nonchalant tap of his finger.
“It’s time for the two of you to make me king” the man mutters beneath his breath, watching West struggle to his feet in the distance. His eyes closed, the man rests one hand on each teenager, a few brief seconds passing before they reopen.
Unable to keep his feet from dragging across the ground, West stumbles through the alley, every car and foot-travelling civilian stopping to survey the presumed accident. The vehicle having hit with such great force, the debris of each residential complex stacks upon itself, an artificial mountain directly to the crash’s epicentre left for West to scale.
Slicing his hands on broken glass and scraping his palms and elbows against jagged rocks, West scrambles toward the vehicles, the adrenaline that courses through him alleviating some of the pain from his injuries. Looking past the rubble, West locates the cruiser, it’s metal frame completely unharmed, not a dent visible on a cruiser that should be little more than scrap metal by now.
Unable to make anything of sound reasoning from the crash’s result, West drags himself through what once served as a living room, its fifties-inspired carpet now the ground of a provisional garage. The driver’s side door the first thing he reaches for, West rips at the handle and throws himself into the empty driver’s seat. “H- help- pl- help” West murmurs, yet to look into the rest of the car.
“Get them out of the car!” West screams, calling out to the brave citizens that hurry into the wreckage to help. “Who!?” a random man in a plain blue t-shirt inquires, one of six bystanders that leap into action. “The kids! Get the kids out of the car!” West shouts, only able to overhear a second man from the car’s passenger’s side. “There’s no one else in there” the older gentleman remarks, peering through the windshield.
With eyebrows furrowed and mouth agape, West glances into the back, its leather seats just as empty as the chair to his right, the occupants he’d shared the cabin with minutes prior now gone. “Hello!?” the radio operator replies, continuously calling for West’s response to no answer, the adrenaline having run its course, the sheriff now joining Jared and Rachel in a trauma-induced slumber.
== Dream Sequence ==
Season 2 Premiere
\ Realm of Reality /
“Holy fucking shit!” Scarlett screams, fingers running through her long, brown locks, her shoes collecting sand as her feet shuffle through their shared island’s coastline. “What the fuck just happened!?” Scarlett continues to yell, pacing around the shore in utter bemusement, the deep breaths she takes in quickly forced free from her lungs, unable to hinder herself from hyperventilating.
Frozen in time, Vic stares at the calm waters, her arms wrapped around her legs, which press closely against her chest. “I- I don’t- fuck!” Scarlett continues shouting, her destination-less travels ceasing. “What the fuck are we gonna do!?” Scarlett inquires, finally asking a question she wishes for a genuine answer to, Vic’s inability to speak becoming more apparent upon her refusal to reply.
“V- Vic?” Scarlett murmurs, her hands having plastered themselves upon her hips, the woman she accompanies having entirely detached herself from the present. “Vic!” Scarlett remarks for a second time, calling the woman’s name louder now, eyes set on Vic’s stoic pose. “Vic!” Scarlett now shouts, still incapable of earning a response, the flurry of thoughts that race through her head immobilising her better judgement.
“Victoria!” Scarlett shouts for a final time, her hand resting on Vic’s shoulder for a moment prior to pulling the woman back. In silence, Vic resists, throwing herself forward as she climbs off the ground, grains of still-warm sand falling over her fingers as he palms press into it. “What!? What the fuck do you need!?” Vic exclaims, tripping over herself as he stands up, the soft ground offering difficult terrain to stand upon.
“I don’t- I don’t-” Scarlett staggers, the severity of Vic’s fright having quelled much of her own. “I don’t- I don’t what!?” Vic retaliates, mocking the woman’s stutter, her eyes widened, arms flailing with each word spoken. “I don’t know!” Scarlett remarks, her shout having softened slightly, the response prompting Vic to turn around, content with disappearing into the night.
“What the hell just happened, Vic!?” Scarlett finally ponders aloud, trying to contain tears of unabashed horror, “just- just tell that didn’t just happen.” Hands by her side, Vic’s eyes trail back to her friend, the new brunette swaying gently from one side to another, her heart continuing to race. Her teeth pressed together, Vic lowers her lips and chin, her eyes pulling away from Scarlett in favour of their nearby surroundings.
In a hush, Vic lifts her right arm toward a bundle of flora closeby, her fingers extending to present the luscious greenery with an open palm. Her lip quivering, Vic pauses her efforts, her racing thoughts proving too much of a distraction to overcome. Her eyelids pressing together, Vic lets in one deep, filling breath before expelling it, her composure as regained as it can be.
With eyes reopened to the world, Vic steadies her hand, wiping the sweat that built upon her mitt over the denim of her jeans. Her hand outstretched, Vic feels the weight increase in her hand, the bush that she reaches for beginning to rustle within her claim. Her question answered with the shrubbery’s display alone, Scarlett watches the plant shake violently, the sound of its roots beginning to pry free from their home in the dirt resonating like pulled rubber.
Her fingers now starting to curl, Vic keeps to her effort, the thicket gradually tearing further from the ground until the last of its fight gives in. As if her hand had already taken the fern into its possession, Vic’s arm pulls back, the airborne bush darting through the air, its smallest branches tucked into the parts of Vic’s fingers. Letting go of a second deep breath, Vic looks to Scarlett, both women holding onto the same disturbed expression.
Closing her mouth, Scarlett peers away, her focus turning toward the calm waters just beyond their feet. “Scar-” Vic calls out, her eyes still widened as her friend gazes back, reacting to the call of her name. “What?” Scarlett inquires, met only with Vic’s silent stare. Confused, Scarlett steps forward, her knuckles grazing the corduroy of her pant leg, a sensation that pulls her eyes toward the surprisingly heavy hand she carries to one side.
If any doubt remained within her, its final grasp detaches, Scarlett’s hand cradling her service weapon, it’s exterior glowing a bright red that illuminates the beach. “What the fuck is happening?” Vic mutters, just loud enough for Scarlett to hear, though the woman remains unable to respond. Staring into the glowing revolver, Scarlett’s face dawns a red tint, her puzzled eyes inspecting the piece in her grasp, its presence- much like their powers- remain mystifying.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm Beyond /
“This isn’t supposed to be happening!” Scarlett proclaims whilst slouched in an office chair, Vic pacing around the featureless conference room as she continues. “This realm shouldn’t exist either as far as you’re concerned” Esotera replies, standing stoically near the room’s centre, Vic strolling to her left, Scarlett sat to her right, “how this is baffling to you two is beyond me.”
“Because none of this lines up” Scarlett replies, continuing to lead the conversation as Vic listens quietly, “are we protecting the realm or is it trying to kill us?” Her head bowing, Esotera allows Scarlett to continue speaking, her patience held.
“We’ve stopped the fifth tragedy. The realm couldn’t kill us, and now- what?” Scarlett ponders, Vic’s discovery brought upon in lieu of Scarlett’s pause. “Now we passed” Vic remarks, both Scarlett and Esotera directing their attention across the room. “We had to stop the fifth tragedy, and we did. As a result, we saved our own lives” Vic proclaims, deciphering the realm’s intentions as she stares in her service weapon, “this is our reward.”
Mouth slightly ajar, Scarlett turns to look Esotera in the eyes, her only answer coming in the form of a shrug. “Then what does that mean?” Scarlett replies, somehow yet to complete a puzzle that doesn’t physically exist, “it’s over? We passed? What does that change?”
“Nothing apparently” Vic quickly responds, letting her weapon vanish from existence as she steps forward, drawing closer to the room’s other occupants. “We’re still here, something still feels off, and there are still questions to answer” Vic concludes, their dilemma still unsolved. “Then where the fuck are these questions?” Scarlett rebukes, pushing herself from the seat she’d tenanted, starting to make for the exit.
“Right there, I’d assume” Esotera replies, her voice calling Scarlett back toward the group, the glow of an opening pair of doors drawing their collective attention. Without a sound, Scarlett and Vic share a glance, the room that had evaded them many times prior now teasing them with acceptance once more.
“Nuh uh, nice try” Scarlett remarks, her head shaking as she turns away, making for the room’s exit for a second time, “hit me with a train once- shame on you. Hit me with a train twice- I’ll fuck you up.” Throwing her arms out, Vic watches Scarlett walk away, less annoyed than she is disappointed. “Oh, come on! You wanted a question to answer!” Vic exclaims, Scarlett turning back to respond just as she prepares to leave.
“If that’s the question, I’m fine with the status q-” Scarlett begins to reply, the crash bar she reaches out for refusing to accept her graze. Unable to finish her retort before crashing into the impenetrable doors, Scarlett steps back, leaving her thought unfinished as she gathers herself. “What the fuck?” Scarlett mumbles beneath her breath, reaching for the crash bar for a second time, again met with a similar response.
“Am I losing my mind?” Scarlett yelps, slamming her fist against what’s meant to be a door, but feels more like a wall upon contact. Taking an additional three steps back, Scarlett stares at the door, trying to consider the response her exit provides. “I think it’s trying to tell-” Vic begins to joke, her statement forced to pause the moment Scarlett’s exit disappears entirely, the pair of double doors replaced with a textureless wall neither woman is permitted to pass through.
“Did you fucking see that!?” Scarlett exclaims, pointing to the wall as she trips backward, falling to the ground amidst her passage’s vanishing. In a moment of pause, Scarlett stares at the new wall, sharing a glance with Esotera and Vic as her brain processes what’s happening, incapable of coming to a formidable conclusion. “What is going on!?” Scarlett finally screams, reality having twisted upon itself to such an extent that her poise crumbles.
“You’re suffering shellshock” a fourth voice remarks, a woman with a familiar face emerging through the entrance Esotera had brought light to. Scrambling to reclaim their solidity, Vic and Scarlett watch the woman’s arrival, her frame made to look small in comparison to the almighty brutes that accompany her. “The realm has a way of messing with your head when it wants to” the woman explains, “makes you see things that aren’t there- maybe do things you shouldn’t- that sort of stuff.”
“Hold on- I recognise you” Vic murmurs, stepping a short distance closer to the woman, memories of the woman’s face bringing about recollections of chaos and dread. “You’re the flight attendant” Scarlett proclaims, the woman’s face etched into her mind. “It’s Suzie” the woman replies, her head nodding in the direction of those that accompany her, “these are Razul and Kazro- they’re not friendly.”
“How are the three of you here?” Vic quickly inquires, watching the trio approach the conference table, only Suzie making the effort to reach for a seat. “Come on, where’s the fun in that?” Suzie replies, groaning as she sinks into the chair’s warm embrace, “besides, that’s not the important part.”
“I beg to differ” Scarlett responds, stepping past Vic to approach their unwelcome guest, “this isn’t supposed to be possible.” With a chuckle, Suzie extends her hands toward the room’s interior, it’s brutalist interior entirely contained beyond unfeasible borders. “None of this is supposed to be possible, darling” the intruder replies, her feet lifting atop the desk, ankles crossing over each other, “yet- there’s no questioning it from your end.”
“We’re making peace with it” Scarlett replies, the tone of her voice lacking the conviction necessary to persuade Suzie. “From the looks of it, it seems more like the realm is making peace with you than the other way around” Suzie replies, her hands coupled atop her lap, “and to think- it’s only just begun.”
“What do you mean?” Vic queries, earning an eye roll for both herself and Scarlett. “Are all of these questions all the two of you are good for?” Suzie sharply replies, her eyebrow lifting as her head bobs forward, “stop wondering about every little thing and start opening your eyes. If the realm wants you to know something- it’ll tell you.”
“Right now, it’s telling us that the three of you know how to get in as you please” Scarlett responds, another few steps taken toward the woman. “That’s a good start, what else?” Suzie replies, a smirk coming over her face as she leads the women close, her intentions yet to be understood.
“It’s implied that you’ve been here before” Vic interjects, joining Scarlett in her progression forward, “if you know the realm fucks with your mind, you’re obviously familiar with its intentions.”
“Hmph” Suzie grumbles, her eyes squinting toward the women as they approach, “the two of you seem a lot smarter when you stop playing dumb.” Brushing off the antagonistic remark, Scarlett and Vic continue to approach, their service weapons reclaimed. “If this ‘shellshock’ is going around, it’s only started when you showed up” Scarlett concludes, the room growing darker by the second, “I’m starting to think this place doesn’t want you here.”
With an eyebrow raised, Suzie removes her feet from the table, allowing them to fall as the younger women approach, obviously making their bravest attempt at a threat. “Clever conclusion-” Suzie begins to respond, slowly leaving her chair as she pauses, lifting her hand into the air with her fingers pressed together, “-let’s fill in the blanks.”
In a snap, the conference room disappears, its walls having fallen, its poorly lit interior traded in for an empty street. Within a blink, Suzie shelves the brutalist office in favour of the girls’ Praireville recreation. Their attempt at pressuring Suzie into a quick surrender now vanquished, Scarlett and Vic stare out at their surroundings, only the sound of trespasser’s voice able to guide them back to the discussion.
“The realm is impossible to understand. The idea that either of you are trying to decode it is laughable” Suzie explains, calmly pacing before the women, who both relinquish their weapons to the ether. “Nothing here makes sense. Don’t give yourself the burden of finding patterns or trying to negotiate” Suzie warns, looking both women in the eyes, “the realm beyond has needs and wants. Just like the two of you- the realm is a living being. Treat it like one.”
Unsure of what’s unfolding, Scarlett and Vic remain quiet, allowing Suzie to continue speaking, still uncertain over her rationales. “By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the ghouls and blank faces that litter this place- those are souls” the woman proclaims, “if the two of you had died on that plane, the two of you would be doomed here. Those that cannot prove themselves worthy of the realm are enraptured by it- consumed and digested.”
Interrupted by the roaring sound of thunder, Suzie loses the chance to speak, Vic’s interruption keeping her from continuing. “Tell us how you know all of this” the young woman commands, Suzie’s eyes peering toward them from a short distance, “you got in here, you know this stuff, you’re comfortable with all of this- make it make sense.”
“I already have” the older woman quickly replies, “you wanted answers, and I gave you them. Congratulations, you passed its entry exam.” Growing frustrated, Scarlett takes Vic’s interruption one step further, the service weapon reemerging in her hand. “Enough talk. If the realm isn’t gonna ask questions, I will” Scarlett proclaims, lifting her weapon toward Suzie’s face, her expression unchanged, “what are you doing here, and what’s the point of all this?”
With a smirk, Suzie stares into Scarlett’s eyes for a brief moment, the invader’s pupils dilating as she begins to tilt her head. “Go ahead” Suzie grumbles, daring Scarlett to pull the trigger she’s now dared to. Nostrils flaring, Scarlett considers her choices for a second before caving, her finger squeezing the trigger as requested to no avail.
With a growl, Suzie and her henchmen vanish into thin air, the charge from Scarlett’s gun colliding with the side of a random, unimportant building. Their problems yet to cease, the golden sky turns a burning red, the bulb in each street lamp bursting in the same moment. “I’m here to reclaim what’s mine” Suzie replies, standing before Razul and Kazro atop an unmarked bar, “the throne is mine, and I’ll be damned if I let either of you snatch it from beneath me.”
Turning her arm, Scarlett fires a second charge, the woman she took aim at vanishing into thin air once more. “You two are outmatched, overpowered and out of your depth!” Suzie exclaims, now stood atop smooth pavement across the street, “this realm will never belong to you.”
Again flashing out of existence at the pull of Scarlett’s trigger, Suzie remains concealed beneath the realm’s guise, her voice whispering into the pair’s ears. “The realm doesn’t get to choose him” the woman whispers, a hint of malice in her voice as Scarlett aims for her wildly, “this realm is mine.”
With her declaration, Suzie reappears between the young women, looking them in the eyes for a brief moment as she throws her hands outward. Without warning, Scarlett and Vic are removed from their feet, the blast’s epicentre hurling them through the realm’s angry skies, both women skidding along the ground to a stop. “I won guardianship over this realm- I fucking earned it” Suzie proclaims, another roar of thunder bellowing through the air.
“Neither of you two belong on the throne! It’s my goddamn right!” Suzie exclaims, watching the dark red shade above spark with brief, intermittent flashes of light. “You crazy bitch!” Scarlett shouts, recovering her service weapon just as Suzie disappears once more, flashes of lighting raging through the sky.
“This realm belongs to me!” Suzie exclaims, reappearing just before Scarlett, a service weapon of her own already aimed. Within an instant, Suzie fires a charge through Scarlett’s head, removing the young woman from the catastrophic streets before the worst can arrive. Reclaiming her own service weapon, Vic steadies her aim on Suzie, the infiltrator having yet to lay her attention upon the second realm keeper.
Preparing to fire, Vic moves her finger to the trigger, her intentions set upon shooting Suzie until the realm holds her off. Striking into the ground just a few centimetres from Vic, a bolt of lightning disintegrates the service weapon, drawing Suzie’s eyes toward the scene of the chaos. With a scowl, Suzie lets her weapon vanish all the same, her hand replacing the hold on her revolver with a snap, the invasive trio disappearing just as lightning strikes the places they occupied.
Alone, Vic feels the ground begin to shake, Suzie’s departure seemingly doing little to aid the realm in releasing its anger. With a grimace, Vic reclaims her weapon, the barrel held against the side of her head as she squeezes the trigger, bidding farewell to the realm for the time being.
\ Realm of Reality /
Though presented with the lavish furnishings of their modern villa, Scarlett and Vic enter empty handed, their suitcases stranded with their flight’s deceased passengers. Closing the door quietly, Vic presses the open palm of her hand against the entrance, her second hand still wrapped around its handle, hesitant to let go.
Aimless, Scarlett wanders into the home, their spacious parlour adorned with little more than a few couches and chairs, the home yet to be treated with their personal care. Slowly relinquishing possession of the door’s frame, Vic steps further into their new home, its dream-like magnificence impossible to fully appreciate after the day they’d encountered.
A few metres ahead of her friend, Scarlett approaches the lounge’s end, a large curtain covering the back wall in its entirety, what it conceals becomes too much to ignore. With a tug, Scarlett rips the drape from its rod, the thick sheet falling to the ground with ease, exposing a floor-to-ceiling window that encompasses the home’s entire side.
“Wow” Scarlett whispers, her face washed with sunlight as Vic leisurely draws near, the perfectly clear waters of the Arabian Sea situated in every direction around their Maldives home. Though briefly frozen in wonder, Scarlett moves to the window’s centre, a pair of latches curiously protruding from the frame, enough to peak the woman’s interest.
With a gentle tug, Scarlett guides the window inward, the thick, glass panels slide apart, revealing the opening to a deck just over the water’s surface. Her mouth agape, Vic watches the woman step onto the terrace, her arms draped over the wooden bannister at it’s brim. With a sigh, Scarlett leans forward, the crescent moon pendant of her necklace swaying as she glances down, calm waters navigating the wooden stumps the home rests upon.
“Welcome home” Vic murmurs, the remark made half-heartedly as she joins Scarlett atop the wooden patio, “this is what life is now.” Though she fights to enjoy the scenic views she’s now welcomed to, Scarlett’s mind remains wrapped around the events that led to it, unable to shake the feeling that this new life isn’t deserved.
“No, I don’t think it is” Scarlett sighs, her friend’s arms now joining her own, pressing into the bannister’s top rail as Vic leans forward. “Life is-” Scarlett begins, her mouth remaining ajar as she pauses, searching for the term most suiting, “-complicated.” Her eyes pressing closer, Vic turns to look at Scarlett, the fiery backslapper keeping her view toward the sea.
“Complicated? That’s the best you could come up with?” Vic replies, still unable to tow Scarlett’s eyes in her direction, “not fucked up, or practically nonsensical?” Her lips puckered, Scarlett shakes her head, her dirty grey t-shirt wrinkled and faded from their seaside slumber. “I figured those went without saying” Scarlett responds, her brown locks warmed by the hot sun that sits above.
“A lot of things go without saying” Vic replies, her side pressing into the railing as she speaks, eyes still focused on the young woman beside her. Only answering with a nod, Scarlett remains silent, a gesture that, though it takes a moment, Vic soon catches onto. Her rigidity falling aside, Vic turns back to the water, trying to find the quiet serenity in spite of the havoc that consumes them.
With time, the truth settles in, their collective uncertainty not a problem to solve, but rather, an anxiety-building reprieve forced upon them by the living sanctum they’d been tasked with protecting. “This is all just wasted time, isn’t it?” Scarlett suddenly probes, Vic’s face again turning to her direction. “What is?” Vic responds, her friend’s audible sigh filling the silent pause between the question and its answer.
“All of it. The questions, the anger, the conflict- it doesn’t change a thing” Scarlett replies, loose strands of hair blown into her face by gentle winds. “How else do you suppose we get through this?” Vic retorts, a passing glance taken at a canoe gliding across the water half a kilometre away. “I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel like this- all the mind-fuckery we’ve got going on- is it” Scarlett responds, finally turning to look Vic in the face.
“You say that like any answer actually exists” Vic responds, kept from continuing as Scarlett rolls her eyes, interjecting with her own thoughts. “I know, I know- but if none of this is helping, why bother moping around about it?” Scarlett remarks, “you heard that chick- whatever her name was- the realm wants and needs what it does.”
“So what is your point, exactly?” Vic questions, failing to see where the paths in Scarlett’s analogy meet. “My point is that there is no point” Scarlett responds, pulling away from the bannister a slight bit, her arms hung against her sides, “trying to predict the realm, answer its questions- or question its answers, however that’s supposed to work- it’s pointless.”
“So we give up?” Vic replies, Scarlett’s eyes rolling as she turns away, leaving Vic to continue speaking, “we just walk away from everything we’ve done.” Putting a smile on her face, Scarlett turns back, her head shaking in Vic’s direction. “No. The lives we had before this- Praireville, our friends, our family- it’s all gone” Scarlett responds, throwing her grey t-shirt onto the patio, only a bra worn over her chest, “I say we enjoy the life we still get to have.”
With a newfound enthusiasm, Scarlett charges at the bannister, her feet pushing against the terrace at the final moment, catapulting her over the home’s foundation and into the warm waters below. With a splash, Scarlett collides with the water, her breath held for a few seconds as her eyes open, able to see through the waves with clarity she’d never known.
Reemerging, Scarlett stares at the patio, Vic’s unconvinced expression the first sight to greet her. “Your solution is to go for a swim?” Vic replies sternly, both arms draped atop the railing once more. “My solution is to live life while we have it!” Scarlett shouts back, slowly moving her hands through the water to remain afloat, “the realm’s gonna do what it wants. If that’s kill us, or hurt us- whatever! Fine! Worrying about it just keeps us from enjoying what we have now.”
“I don’t think either of us get the luxury of enjoying the now, Scar” Vic responds, still reluctant to break from the worried, fearful, on-edge caution that holds to her. “Vic, think about what we do. Think about what we have that no one else- barring a few exceptions, of course- gets to have” Scarlett replies, able to see the restraints Vic has shackled herself to slowly loosen, “if there’s anyone that deserves this- it’s us.”
Her chin shifting to the right, Vic takes Scarlett’s discovery into consideration, her scepticism still prohibiting her from adhering to her friend’s proposition. Remaining quiet, Scarlett waits for Vic to digest what’s been said, the eased expression on the new blonde’s face providing her with hope. After a few moments pass, Vic’s arms pull away from the bannister for the final time, her feet carrying her back into the home, the hopeful look on Scarlett’s face now fading.
With another sigh, Scarlett takes her eyes to a ladder nearest the home’s side, her optimism sentenced to a cold and depressing rest. At the last moment, Scarlett’s ears take back to the terrace, its quiet, untravelled wooden walkspace greeted by hurried footsteps, each stride leading closer to the railing. Blocking out the sun the moment she leaps over the handrail, Vic descends through the air, her hands wrapped around her knees as she crashes into the sea.
Pleased, Scarlett turns back to the woman’s impact, the crater she leaves behind steadily beginning to heal itself as she begins to resurface. With deep breaths, Vic swipes pale hair from her face, the first person she lays eyes upon being the temptress that guided her beneath the waves. “Fuck it” Vic bellows, shaking her head to relieve her eyes from the water that pours over her face, “it’s the fucking Maldives, why not live a little?”
With a laugh, Scarlett swipes the water with her hand, a rippling wave thrown in Vic’s direction before the gesture is returned, a brief battle ensuing. “Let come whatever the fuck may!” Scarlett exclaims, the waves they create intensifying the quicker their hands move. “Hello!?” a weirdly familiar voice exclaims, the masculine tone muffled slightly by the distance between it and the residence’s owners.
“Is that for us?” Vic inquires, their combat ceasing until the man is heard for a second time, the lack of any home within shouting distance from their own allowing Vic to assume the ears such a request was destined for are their own. Slowly embracing the availability of her powers, Scarlett raises herself above the water, slowly hovering back to the terrace’s surface whilst Vic watches.
“We’re really gonna need some ground rules for these things” Vic mutters beneath her breath, allowing Scarlett to answer the door as she opts to ascend the nearby climbing pegs. Following the trail of water droplets from the patio and through the living room, Vic swipes at her colourless locks, watching Scarlett’s shirtless frame stand stoically by the door.
“Is everything alright?” Vic inquires, still unable to see the face of the guest they’d been called to, her eyes widening the moment Scarlett turns to look at her. His face now revealed, an unfamiliar man with a large, tower-like build smiles at her, his presentation more kind in nature than his greeting leads the girls to believe. “I’m Lincoln” the man responds, his hand on the door’s frame, his body leant against the home’s wall, “we should talk.”
== Dream Sequence ==